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Iranian Women Got To Watch Soccer In A Stadium For The First Time For The World Cup

Women have not been allowed into the Azadi Stadium since the 1979 Islamic Revolution — but it remains unclear if they will be allowed in again.

Last updated on October 10, 2019, at 8:09 p.m. ET

Posted on June 21, 2018, at 8:01 a.m. ET

Iranian women were allowed inside a football stadium alongside men last night to watch the live broadcast of a World Cup game.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Iran was playing Spain in the second round of Group B games in Russia.

Kyodo News / Getty Images

Although the national team lost, it was an amazing victory for Iranian women. They hadn't been allowed into stadiums since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

It initially appeared that women wouldn't be admitted to the stadium, despite promises from the governor of Tehran, Iran's capital.

بست‌نشینی و بوق‌های اعتراضی شهروندانی که با داشتن بلیت برای تماشای بازی ایران و اسپانیا به استادیوم آزادی رفتند و با درهای بسته استادیوم و لغو پخش بازی در آن روبه‌رو شدند. #NoWomenNoFootball

Tehran news agency Tasnim said that the screening had been canceled because of "infrastructure difficulties."

"Since there will be no public broadcast, it is respectfully asked that our dear nationals avoid going to Azadi Stadium," the news agency added.

But scores turned up at Tehran's Azadi Stadium anyway, and when women were refused access, both men and women protested outside.

Iran Human Rights

And they got in!

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

People celebrated, and the national team's Twitter account retweeted this iconic image of a woman watching the game.

Team Melli IRAN

Lots of women took selfies inside the stadium.

Samimi Sadaf / Twitter / Instagram

Samimi Sadaf, whose selfie was shared widely, is a reporter in Iran.

She captioned this image: "We're here and we'll come again! Right گرفتنیست :)".

بالأخره #زنان سرزمینم امکان حضور در #استادیوم_آزادی، بدون چهره پردازی و استرس را تجربه کردند. در کنار خانواده ی شان. فضایی مثبت و قابهایی زیبا ساختند. این دستاورد بزرگی است که بسیار خوشحالم کرد و قدردان پدیدآورندگانش هستم #ایران_اسپانیا #IRNESP #FifaWorldCup2018 #Azadistadium

The mood was jubilant.

UNPRECEDENTED: Iranian women at Azadi stadium to watch (televised) #IRNESP at #worldcup

ملت بعد از کلی درگیری و اعتراض رفتن تو #استادیوم_آزادی، باید کم‌کم عادت کنیم که حتی اگه شده به زور حقمون رو بگیریم #ایران_اسپانیا

Niloofar Hamedi, an Iranian sports reporter, took this image inside. And then this cute photo of two little supporters.

Niloofar Hamedi / Twitter

Her caption said that although the Iranian team lost the match, the real winners were Iran's women, who were finally allowed inside the stadium.

The vice president for women and family affairs, Massoumeh Ebtekar, also tweeted that she had joined the crowds in the stadium.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Other politicians include reformer Tayebeh Siavosh.

It remains unclear whether women will be allowed into the stadiums again — but many women are hoping that the authorities will relax their stance.

In March, 35 women were detained by authorities after they dressed as men and snuck into the stadium to watch a rival match between two Tehran clubs.

Shortly afterward, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who had also been at the match the women snuck into, told Reuters that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had "promised that women in Iran will have access to football stadiums soon."

Meanwhile, in Russia — which is hosting the World Cup this year — Iranian women have been pictured and filmed at the stadiums enjoying the matches alongside the men.

Let's just hope that women and men can soon watch the matches together. 🇮🇷 ⚽ ❤️

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images


The name of news agency Tasnim was misspelled in an earlier version of this article.


This story has been updated to clarify that attendees at Azadi Stadium were watching a televised broadcast of the World Cup match.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.