06/13/2015, 00.00
IRAN
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Teheran removes volleyball ban for (some) women

The World League will be held in the capital later this month. Some women (including the wives of the players) can watch the matches. The ban in place since revolution of '79. The decision confirms moderate moves by Rouhani government, above all in religious field.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - The Iranian government is planning to allow a limited number of women attend matches of the men's World Volleyball League, which will be held in the capital later this month. The vice president Shahindokht Molaverdi said that the majority of women that will be able to watch the matches are relatives of the players.

Despite opposition from some political radicals, Molaverdi said that " “If it practically happens a few times, the concerns will be completely removed and it will be proven that allowing women to watch men's sports matches is not problematic". The vice president added women still would not be allowed to watch wrestling, swimming and soccer but can watch games like basketball, handball, volleyball and tennis.

Iran has banned women from sports events since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, to prevent their vision of male bodies in skimpy clothing. Last December a 26 year old girl was sentenced to five months in prison for having watched a game of men's volleyball, and in the summer of 2013, the religious hardliners protested against the TV broadcast of the national women’s team’s matches.

The position of President Hassan Rouhani in religious matters is moderate, and this choice (even if the removal of the ban is not permanent) is a confirmation of this.

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