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Female Iranian Official Attacks Volleyball Ban

USA volleyball player Aron Russell, left, smashes the ball against, from left, Iran's Mir Saeid Marouflakrani, Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi and Milad Ebadipour Ghara during Men's Volleyball World League, at the Azadi (Freedom) stadium in Tehran, Iran, June 19

A female Iranian vice president has criticized what she called "sanctimonious" men's groups, whose threats prevented women from watching Iran play the USA in a volleyball match.

Iran defeated the United States 3-0 Friday, winning the first set 25-19, the second 29-27 and the third by 25-20 in the FIVB world league series.

Vice President Shahindokht Molaverdi, a reformist politician responsible for women and family affairs in the Islamic republic, had said last week that some female supporters would be allowed avoid a long-standing ban and go into the stadium to watch the game.

However, on Tuesday, Iran’s interior minister was quoted as saying that “no new decision had been made about women’s attendance at sports stadiums.”

Although about 200 tickets were reportedly reserved for women at the Azadi sports complex in Tehran, security personnel around the stadium refused to allow any of them to see the match.

Female volleyball fans had been labeled as “prostitutes” and “sluts” on social media and on posters reportedly displayed in downtown Tehran.

Molaverdi said such remarks by “those who call themselves followers of God ... and which used words that one loathes to repeat, clearly constitute several offenses under the law.”

Women have been banned from sporting events since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, but the government of President Hassan Rouhani has been trying to ease the restrictions.