Iran have defeated the US 3-0 at a home volleyball match attended by 12,000 people and broadcast live on state TV, as a ban on female spectators remained in place despite an official saying recently that it might be eased.
Iran won the first set 25-19, the second by 29-27 and the third by 25-20 in the FIVB World League on Friday at Azadi Stadium in the capital, Tehran. The two teams are to meet again today.
The US, who were the champions of last year’s round, beat the Iranian squad 3-1 in two matches last month.
State TV muted its microphones inside the stadium when the US national anthem was played and broadcast only a reporter’s voice.
No Iranian women were allowed to attend the match in keeping with a ban in place since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Foreign women are allowed to attend matches of their national teams.
Earlier this month, Iranian Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi told reporters that “a limited number of women, mainly families of national team players,” would be allowed to watch volleyball matches as a way of gradually introducing change.
Molaverdi, a reformist politician and women’s rights activist, said women would be allowed into stadiums to watch men’s matches in specific sports such as volleyball, basketball, handball and tennis. However, she said women would still not be allowed into soccer, swimming and wrestling events.
However, on Tuesday Iranian Minister of Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said: “No new decision has been made about women’s attendance at sports stadiums.”
The ban came to worldwide attention last year over the detention of an Iranian-British woman, Ghoncheh Ghavami, who tried to attend a men’s volleyball match between Iran and Italy. Ghavami was eventually sentenced to a year in prison for “propagating against the ruling system,” but was freed on bail in November last year pending an appeal.
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