• After the World Cup, Will Iranian Women Still Be Able to Watch Soccer?

    The 2018 World Cup is over after a whirlwind month of matches, with France claiming the title. There was no shortage of engrossing stories from the tournament, with political drama undergirding the action. In Iran, for example, beyond the national team’s relatively impressive display, the country grabbed headlines off the pitch for allowing women to attend viewings of the men’s national team soccer matches.

    On June 20, the Iranian government allowed women to watch Team Melli’s World Cup match against Spain in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, reversing a ban on women attending male sporting events that has been in place—though not necessarily uniformly enforced—...

    Read More
  • Iran’s National Soccer Team Unites an Otherwise Divided Nation

    The one thing, besides Nowruz, that unites Iranians across the globe is Team Melli, the national soccer team. If social media is any indication, Team Melli is an obsession for Iranians everywhere.

    Iran qualified for this summer’s World Cup on June 17, 2017, the first time the country has punched its ticket for two consecutive tournaments. There was a sense, by the end of the qualifying campaign, that Iran had become strong enough to make it into the round of 16, also for the first time. Although these hopes ultimately were not realized, Team Melli performed much better than expected when paired in the first round against traditional powerhouses Spain and Portugal as well as a strong side from Morocco.

    Read More