The Slatest

Iran (Partially) Lifts Ban on Women Attending Sporting Events

An Iranian woman plays volleyball while a man takes pictures of his family at a park in northern Tehran on April 2, 2013.

Photo by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

Women in Iran will finally be allowed to attend big sporting events. Not all of them, mind you, but at least the outright ban that prevents women from attending games alongside men will be lifted. Although the timeline for lifting the restrictions is far from clear, Iran’s deputy sports minister said it will happen during the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21, according to PressTV. The lifting of restrictions will not include sports that “families are not interested in attending,” Abdolhamid Ahmadi added.

The restrictions are likely to stay in place for sports considered to be more “masculine,” which the New York Times says includes the likes of wrestling or swimming, “during which male athletes wear uniforms or suits that cover little of their bodies.” The measure seems to have been taken to coincide with the announcement of a breakthrough in negotiations with world powers over Iran’s nuclear program, adds the Times. And it comes less than a month after FIFA President Sepp Blatter called on Iran to end the “intolerable” ban on women going to stadiums, notes the Telegraph.

Meanwhile, an appeals court has dismissed charges against a British-Iranian woman who had been locked up for five months after she tried to attend a men’s volleyball game, reports the Guardian. Although 26-year-old Ghoncheh Ghavami won’t have to return to prison, a travel ban that had been imposed continues to be in effect.