Iran’s female football fans have openly defied their country’s regime. How? By watching the World Cup in the company of their male family and friends. Over the past two weeks - before their national team crashed out of the tournament - women were spotted in cafes and restaurants, in the company of men, enjoying Iran’s most popular sport.
By law, such behaviour is illegal. Men and women aren’t permitted to gather together in public places to watch matches. Women are also banned from entering stadiums.
Iranian authorities imposed the rule following the 1979 revolution, stating that mixed crowds were ‘un-Islamic.’ So, for the past three decades (aside from two brief periods in 2005 and 2013 when women were allowed to watch volleyball) the spectators at all sporting events have been entirely male.