Iranian MPs speak out as women are barred from World Cup qualifier | World news | The Guardian

“I didn’t want to stay at home and do nothing. I wanted to at least protest,” she told the Guardian by phone from Isfahan. “I printed a banner, which the guards confiscated from me in the most brutal manner.” A picture taken outside the stadium shows her face painted with an Iranian flag, as she holds up a placard that reads: “I, too, want a seat at Azadi – let women in.” Azadi means freedom in Farsi.AdvertisementShiva Nazar-Ahari, a prominent women’s rights campaigner previously imprisoned for her activism, said around 20 women had protested outside the stadium. She said she had bought two tickets earlier in the week, each priced at 15,000 rials (around £3).“We were hopeful that they would let us in. We queued up for two hours. They said they needed to check if they could let us in, and at times we thought they were going to do so, and we saw Syrian female fans passing through without a problem, and then they said: ‘No, you can’t enter,’” she said by phone. “It was a very bitter experience. I was close to tears – never before have I felt so defeated and humiliated.”Tuesday’s game ended 2-2, keeping Syrian hopes alive for reaching the World Cup finals in Russia next year.Iran, which has already secured its place in the finals, is a staunch supporter of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. One user on social media joked: “The guards will struggle to decide which team to support.”

Source: Iranian MPs speak out as women are barred from World Cup qualifier | World news | The Guardian