Women’s rights are back in focus as Iran’s national soccer team prepares for the World Cup. They were never that far away.
Anti-government protests have engulfed the Islamic Republic following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained for allegedly wearing a mandatory headscarf too loosely.
Players on the men’s team that will face England, Wales and the United States next month in Qatar have voiced their support for Iranian women’s rights, despite some initial hesitancy.
Back in January, Iran made headlines not only by beating Iraq 1-0 to qualify for its third straight World Cup but also because 2,000 women were allowed to attend the game at Azadi Stadium in Tehran. Two months later, though, women were blocked from attending another match and reportedly were pepper-sprayed.