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Iranian President Allows Women To Attend Sports Matches

PRAGUE, April 24, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has ordered women to be allowed to enter sports stadiums and to attend games involving the national soccer team.

Iranian Women Defy Ban, Attend Soccer Match (file photo)

In Iran it is considered un-Islamic for women to attend men's sporting events, and women have been barred from attending sports matches since the establishment of an Islamic republic 27 years ago.

But in a letter to the head of the Physical Education Organization, an government institution administered by the president and responsible for sport in the country, Ahmadinejad wrote that women and families help bring "morality" and "chastity" to public places. Ahmadinejad added that some of the best places in sports stadiums should be set aside for women and children.

File photo: June 2005

It is not clear when the president's order will be brought into force.

Last year, a group of women defied the ban on attending sports matches by pushing their way into a stadium to watch a soccer game between Iran and Bahrain.

(compiled with agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2006 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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