Iranian activists have reacted angrily after women were barred from watching a volleyball game against the US, despite previous indications they would be allowed.
Although reports said that Iran’s sporting federation would permit a limited number of women to the game on Friday, pressure from hard-line conservatives appears to have resulted in a backtrack.
Shahindokht Molaverdi, the vice president of Iran, had said that women, mainly members of the players’ families, would be allowed to attend before being contradicted by security officials.
Ghoncheh Ghavami was detained while trying to attend a men’s volleyball game Restrictions had been eased in recent months after Hassan Rouhani’s moderate government appeared willing to listen to complaints from female activists.
But earlier this week a statement from Ansar-e Hezbollah, a religious vigilante group in Iran, said that “we are taking a stand against the presence of prostitutes… in stadiums,” in a flyer distributed around Tehran. “This Friday there will be blood,” it added.