Around the Web

Watch: Iranian women are wearing fake beards and wigs to sneak into male-only sports stadiums

In Iran, women have long been barred from attending sporting events for men.

Since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, the country has prevented women from attending sporting events for men. The logic? Women should not hear fans swear, and must be protected from the “vulgar” atmosphere.

Some Iranian women, however, have worked out how to defy the diktat. Donning fake beards, wigs and men’s clothing, several female football fans disguised themselves as men on Friday to attend a major football match at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. The women sneaked past security to watch the Persian Gulf Pro league match between their team Persepolis and Sepidrood – the former were crowned champions the same evening.

The fearless women then shared images and videos (above and below) of their bold conquest, which have since gone viral on social media.

اصلا نميدونم از كجا شروع كنم...همش از يه رويا شروع شد وقتي ك6سالم بودم همه ي بازيارو با بابام ميرفتم استاديوم من با اين تيم بزرگ شدم اشك ريختم ذوق كردم براش هر سال و هرسال بزرگ تر شدم اما به خودم ك اومدم ديدم جلو در ورزشگاه ايستادم و نميزارن برم داخل چرا؟چون تو يه دختري اره لعنتي جرم تو فقط اينه كه يه دختري دلم خيلي پُره اين خنده هارو نبينيد ما با بغض تو ورزشگاه بوديم با اين بغض كه چرا الان نميتونم بغل پدرم باشم بغل مادرم باشم باهم فوتبال و ببينيم بغض كردم از اينكه واسه يه حق طبيعي چقد خودمو به اب و اتيش زدم ...پرسپوليس تو شش سالگي مني تو نه سالگي مني تو ١٣سالگي مني تو ١٨سالگي مني تو مقدس ترين نامي هستي ك توي قلبمه...#دلنوشته😔😔🙏🙏 @fari_perspolisi @leili_ghanbari @aliiiiiiiikarimi8 @shabnam_red @zeinab_perspolisi_ak8 @khoshnavazzahra @hedie_km_ak8 @saghar.perspolisii @@shahinsamadpoor

A post shared by بازيگر تئاتر🎭 (@mohadeseh.mahdavifar) on

While there is no official ban on women attending such games, they are refused entry and, in several cases, even punished or arrested for attending or even attempting to attend matches. In just March 2018, 35 women were detained for trying to watch a football match.

But this wasn’t the first time women disguised themselves as men to enter stadiums. One of the women in the group picture (above) pulled off the trick for the third time, reports BBC, using a different disguise and make-up every time. She also encouraged other women to do the same and offered to help them with the disguises.

“Why should I be scared?” BBC reported her telling a local Iranian newspaper. “We women do not commit any crimes by going to stadiums. The law has not defined women’s presence at stadiums as a crime.”

Another women said, “Our goal is to keep going until they allow all women to go. We are doing this to say to the authorities they if they don’t let us in, we will keep going nonetheless, with or without beards.”

Over the years Iranian women have shown similar defiance and campaigned for women to re-gain the right to attend sporting events. An Iranian reggae band called Abjeez, fronted by two sisters, recently released a song (video below) titled Stadium, which calls on Iranian men to support the campaign.

Shadi Amin, an Iranian women’s and LGBT rights activist, told Reuters, “[These women] are trying to break a lot of lines and taboos. For other people it is a small step, but for us it is a big step, because the cost of this action is not small. They risk being arrested.”

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.


The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.