Iran: Decision on women at soccer games reversed

May 8, 2006 20:36


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Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday reversed his decision to allow women to attend soccer matches. Ahmadinejad backed down a month before the Iranian national team plays in the World Cup in Germany. In April, Ahmadinejad said he would let women attend soccer matches in a separate section of the stands to "improve soccer-watching manners, and promote a healthy atmosphere." But Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - who under the Islamic Republic's constitution has the final say - opposed the move. "The president has decided to revise his decision based on the supreme leader's opinion," Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said. Ahmadinejad's decision to allow women into stadiums had provoked outrage among the hardline Shi'ite Muslim clerics who supported his election last year and who have tightly controlled Iranian society since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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