Iran detains 35 women for going to football match

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Iran detains 35 women for going to football match

Iranian football fans at a matchImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionOnly men can attend football matches in Iran

Iran has detained 35 women for trying to attend a football match.

They tried to go to a game between Tehran teams Esteqlal and Persepolis. Iran said they were temporarily held and would be released after the match.

Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino, was also in attendance, along with Iranian Sport Minister Masoud Soltanifar.

A live broadcast was taken off the air when a journalist asked Mr Soltanifar when women would be allowed to attend football matches.

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Iranian interior ministry spokesman Seyyed Salman Samani said the female football fans were not arrested – but transferred to a “proper place” by police.

Earlier reports said two women were held.

Iran has barred women from attending football games since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Iranian football fans after celebrate after a win by the national teamImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionIranian women have been urged online recently to protest about their ban from stadiums

‘Break the taboo’

There were calls on social media before the match for women to protest against the ban outside the Azadi stadium today.

Women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad on Wednesday called on women to attend Thursday’s match.

“The Fifa president will be in the stadium tomorrow (1 March),” she wrote.

“I wish women would gather outside the stadium to ask men not to enter without them.”

Another user said it was a “basic right” for women to enter stadiums with men, and said this match was “the best chance to break the 35-year-old taboo”.

Azadi means “freedom” stadium in Persian, and one Twitter user pointed out the hypocrisy of “naming a stadium freedom but banning half the population from entering”.

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Why this game?

By Alan Johnston, World Service Middle East regional editor

The women caught sneaking into the stadium were trying to attend a particularly significant game, one being watched by the most powerful man in world football, Fifa’s boss.

It seems they wanted to attract Mr Infantino’s attention to the ban on women attending games.

And the sensitivity of the issue was apparent as Mr Infantino stood beside the country’s sports minister during a live TV interview.

A journalist asked this awkward question about when the ban might be lifted. The sound was faded down, and the interview abruptly taken off the air.

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‘Politics should stay out of football’

Mr Infantino had been speaking to reporters about a two-year dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino, left, and Iranian sport minister Masoud SoltanifarImage copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionFifa president Gianni Infantino, left, spoke at a joint press conference with Iranian Sport Minister Masoud Soltanifar

Since 2016, when Saudi Arabia broke off relations with Iran, Saudi clubs have refused to play there, forcing Iranian teams to play home games in Oman.

“It’s very clear that politics should stay out of football and football should stay out of politics,” Mr Infantino said the news conference.

“There are of course political issues between countries all over the world but this should not have an impact,” he said.

Later on, the head of Fifa met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Mr Rouhani asked Fifa to make sure that “people are not deprived of watching competitions in their own stadiums”.

Related Topics

Iranian intellectuals call for referendum amid political unrest

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN)

 

Iranian intellectuals call for referendum amid political unrest

Letter with 15 signatories says Iran’s leaders have failed to deliver on republican ideals

Pro-government rally in Iran
 Women hold posters of the Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini and the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a pro-government rally. Photograph: Mohammad Ali Marizad/AP

A group of prominent Iranian intellectuals have said they have lost hope that the Islamic Republic can reform, and have called for a referendum to establish whether the ruling establishment is still backed by a majority.

A day after Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, touted the idea of holding a referendum as a means to heal Iran’s deepening political divisions, 15 figures – including some based in Iran – said leaders had failed to deliver on republican ideals.

Signatories to the letter include the Nobel peace prize-winning lawyer Shirin Ebadi; Narges Mohammadi, a human rights activist currently imprisoned in Tehran; Nasrin Sotoudeh, a rights lawyer; and the film-makers Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Jafar Panahi.

Rouhani did not elaborate on what he was proposing to put to a vote, but he has sounded increasingly frustrated about the political stalemate.

The judiciary has limited his ability to improve social freedoms despite his triumph in last year’s presidential election, and critics say his recent budget, which allocated huge funds to state bodies under the control of hardliners, demonstrated his lack of power.

Meanwhile, the Iranian currency has taken another dive against the dollar in recent days, adding to fears about the state of the economy.

Speaking last week, Rouhani expressed concern about what he said was the unwillingness of his hardline opponents to listen to the voices of ordinary people, particularly after a wave of unrest that began in late December.

“The previous regime, which thought that its rule would be lifelong and its monarchy eternal, lost everything because it did not listen to the voices of criticism, advice, reformers, the clergy, elders and intellectuals,” he said, referring to the late shah’s rule. “The previous regime did not listen to the voice of people’s protests and only listened to one voice, and that was the people’s revolution. For a government that only wants to hear the sound of revolution, it will be too late.”

The activists’ letter states: “Four decades have passed since the establishment of the Islamic republic, a government whose obsession with Islamisation has left little room for republican ideals.”

It criticises the conservative-dominated judiciary, which acts independently of Rouhani’s government. “The judiciary is reduced to the executor of the political wishes of those who hold the reins of power. So many women, lawyers, journalists, teachers, students, workers and political and social activists have been harassed, arrested, convicted of serious crimes and sent to prison, solely for criticising officials, enlightening public opinion, inviting the rulers to respect separation of religion from government or demanding women’s relief from the mandatory veil.”

Last month Mehdi Karroubi, an Iranian opposition leader currently under house arrest, wrote a letter attacking the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power in Iran. Direct criticism of Khamenei is rare.

Karroubi, a former speaker of parliament, wrote: “You have been Iran’s top leader for three decades but still speak like an opposition. During the last three decades you have eliminated the main revolutionary forces to implement your own policies, and now you should face the results of that.”

Iranian officials say high turnouts in elections show that the establishment is still popular. Critics dispute that, saying many voters participate in the hope of bringing about change.

Saeed Barzin, a London-based Iranian analyst, said Rouhani’s call for a referendum was a threat to push back the economic and political meddling of an unelected faction dominated by hardliners, in particular the Revolutionary Guards.

“The undercurrent issue is how the power will be distributed after Khamenei, and in a way the power struggle has already begun,” Barzin said. “Reformists feel under threat that the current situation might lead to people losing hope in reform or becoming radical or becoming apolitical. Hardliners, on the other side, might see an opportunity here to scapegoat Rouhani and even conduct a soft coup d’état, but it’s a gamble.”

Barzin said he was not impressed by the activists’ letter, though the range of signatories was interesting. Even those based in Iran, he said, did not represent mainstream reformists, who would view holding such a referendum as the establishment acquiescing to its own destruction.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani Has Registered To Run For A Second 4 yr Term

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

ANKARA, Turkey — Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, who helped end the country’s diplomatic and economic isolation with a landmark nuclear deal with major powers, registered on Friday to seek a second four-year term in the May 19 election.

Despite remaining faithful to Iran’s theocratic system, Mr. Rouhani has angered hard-liners with his calls for improved relations with the West, more freedom of expression and an easing of strict Islamic rules.

“Once again, I am here for Iran, for Islam, for freedom and for more stability in this country,” Mr. Rouhani told reporters on Friday as he announced his bid.

Mr. Rouhani’s more conservative critics accuse him of having encouraged moral corruption by advocating social tolerance. Some erstwhile supporters who had hoped for radical social changes under his presidency are also critical, saying he has failed to stand up to Iran’s religious establishment.

The president’s constitutional powers are limited. Ultimate authority rests with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Political analysts said they expected Iranian voters to rally around Mr. Rouhani even though many complain that they have seen few economic benefits from the lifting of sanctions.

“Rouhani is still very popular, and he is in a very strong position,” said one analyst, Saeed Leylaz. “People will vote for him to prevent a hard-liner from winning the election.”

Born into a religious family in 1948, Mr. Rouhani, a Shiite cleric, played an active role in the opposition that overthrew the shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, in 1979. He has held several sensitive jobs in the Islamic republic of Iran, including representing Ayatollah Khamenei for 25 years at the Supreme National Security Council.

Mr. Rouhani is also a member of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, two influential advisory bodies in Iran’s multitiered power structure. The latter will choose the country’s next supreme leader.

Will Ali Khomeini Have Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani Murdered In Venezuela This Week?

 

This week the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani gave a speech saying that the Iranian Government needed to “back it down a notch” concerning rhetoric toward Saudi Arabia and the U.S.. Within a couple of hours the person who really rules Iran as a true dictator “the Demon” Ali Khomeini who calls himself “The Supreme Leader” gave a very different speech concerning these issues. By no means is this the first time that the “moderate” President Mr. Hassan Rouhani differed on policy issues whether it be domestic or foreign. The Supreme Leader whom the people of Iran have not elected to that position constantly undermines the President of Iran whom the people did elect. Today Mr. Khomeini after the President spoke of a lighter touch concerning the Saudi’s and the U.S. did his typical tongue lashing of the President and spoke a very harsh line toward the U.S. and the Saudi’s. For those of you who do not know it, Iran is the biggest Shiite Islamic country in the Middle-East and Saudi Arabia is the largest Sunni Islamic country in the Middle-East and these two branches of Islam have hated each other since the Islamic faith started about 1,400 years ago. If the U.S. Security Agency’s are correct these two country’s are the biggest supporters of terrorism in the world. Both want total control of the Islamic faith, and of the whole world. The U.S. of course is hated by almost all the Sunni and the Shiite and is constantly refereed to as “the Great Satan.” Yet because the Saudi Government sells the U.S. many billions of dollars worth of oil each year and the U.S. sells the Saudi’s billions of dollars of military equipment the U.S. Government stays mostly quiet about terrorist acts committed by Saudi citizens. Also ever since “the Islamic Revolution” in 1979 Iran and the U.S. have been at odds with each other.

 

This weekend the OPEC country of Venezuela is having a conference, a get together if you will of Nations called “the Non Aligned Movement Country’s.” The Venezuelan President Mr. Maduro at this point in time is barely holding onto his power as President as most of his citizens want him ousted because he has done a horrible job with the Nations economy since he took office. The people of his Nation are out of work, have almost no utilities and they are starving. Crime in his country is totally out of control, even though his country is a OPEC country it appears that the revenues aren’t going to the people and the economy. Usually when this is happening history tells us that the leaders and their buddies are stealing the country blind. So, now there is this conference being held in Venezuela at the Island of Margarita. It is reported that things are so bad that even their, there is no running water and that employees are putting water jugs in the bathrooms of the major hotel so that the guests will be able to wash their hands. This hotel used to be considered a 5-star facility, now these honored guests can’t even flush their toilets or take a shower or bath.

 

My question is simple, with the living conditions on the ground there in Venezuela being what they are, how good is the security there really going to be? With the reality that ‘The Supreme Ruler’ hates the Iranian President because he is a man who dares to stand against the policies of Ali Khomeini  at times even publicly like yesterday, will Mr. Khomeini have the President assassinated while he is out of Iran there in Venezuela? Think about it for a moment, it would be an easy thing for Khomeini to have done. Having him murdered while he is in South America would be advantageous to him because he could and probably would blame the assassination on the U.S. Government. Certainly President Maduro of Venezuela whom also hates the U.S. and blames the Americans for almost all of his personal failings would have no problem blaming the Americans. To me this conference just seems like the ideal time and location for ‘the Supreme Leader’ to get rid of a President that he personally hates. I personally hope that this event does not happen but it is a well know fact that Mr. Khomeini is a mass murderer just like his daddy was and I do not believe he would lose any sleep over the death of the Iranian President. I hope I am wrong, I hope that no harm comes to President Rouhani, now, only time will tell.