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Iran Reverses 27-Year Ban On Women At Sports Matches

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in training with the national soccer team in March (file photo) (Fars) April 24, 2006 -- Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has ordered women to be allowed to enter sports stadiums and to attend games involving the national soccer team.

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, a 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.

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)

RFE/RL Iran Report

RFE/RL Iran Report

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