Women were allowed into the Azadi Stadium in Tehran to watch a live-stream of Iran’s World Cup match against Spain on Wednesday in an historic occasion.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranian women had been banned from attending football matches and other male-only sporting events. A partial exception to the ban on women was made in June 2015 when a small number were allowed to watch volleyball in Tehran.
But this week, female fans were able to watch their team play Spain in their second group match of the 2018 World Cup.
Iran were defeated 1-0 by the 2010 World Champions, but produced a display that suggested they could have come away with at least a point.
Fans back in the Azadi stadium, both male and female, enjoyed the performance of their team, who could still qualify for the next round of the competition.
Natalie Amiri, the Iran correspondent for Germany’s Weltspiegel and Euroblick, was at the game and said that it was a powerful experience.
“It is a constant fight for women in Iran to get their rights,” she said. “For sure I’m touched when I see that they had the chance to get into the stadium for the first time and had fun and celebrate together with men, something that we have every day in the West.”
She also said one Iranian woman had said: “At last, we were able to take one small step forward! It is a great achievement!”
Iran’s final group game will be against Portugal, the 2016 European Champions.