Iranian fans unfurl banner at World Cup demanding home country allow women to sporting events

Iranian soccer fans made a political gesture at the country’s opening World Cup match against Morocco on Friday by unfurling a banner protesting a ban on women attending soccer matches back home.

“#NoBan4Women” and “Support Iranian Women to Attend Stadium” were seen on banners in the St. Petersburg Stadium.

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The banner was unfurled in the first half of the match, but after a brief commotion it was put away. However, the banner was re-unfurled later in the first half.

Iranian women have been banned from attending male-only sporting events since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Tehran gave a small exception in 2015, allowing some women to watch a volleyball game.

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The decision came after British-Iranian student Ghoncheh Ghavami was detained while trying to attend a men's volleyball match at Azadi. She spent more than 100 days in prison, much of it in solitary confinement.

Iran beat Morocco 1-0 after an own goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz in injury stoppage time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.