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Category: Iran

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Shahrzad Mozafar: Iran’s female futsal trailblazer who defied the odds

Story of how a sport-crazy girl led her country to futsal glory and became a role model is told in this extract from a new bookTo her parents, it was no great surprise. When Shahrzad Mozafar was not kicking a ball with her sisters in their sun-baked fa…

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Socceroos drawn with Japan, Saudi Arabia in World Cup qualifiers

Group A: Iran, South Korea, UAE, Iraq, Syria, LebanonGroup B: Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, China, Oman, VietnamFor the fourth straight World Cup qualifying campaign, the Socceroos have been pitted against Asian powerhouse Japan. Australia on Thursda…

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Free croissants and Iran’s dissidents: the joys of covering France 98

In an extract from a new book, reflections on a manic World Cup schedule that included the famous Iran v USA encounterUSA v Iran, World Cup, Lyon, 21 June 1998Every so often, when searching for something in the attic, I come across a grey box file with…

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Iranian women’s ski coach barred from going to world championships by husband

Husband of Samira Zargari prevents her from travelling to Italy, according to reports in Iranian pressSamira Zargari, the coach of the Iranian women’s Alpine skiing team, has been barred by her husband from travelling to Italy for the world skiing cham…

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Somersault throw-in goal during football match in Iran – video

An unconventional throw-in from Iran’s Persian Gulf Pro League leads to an extraordinary goal. Nader Mohammadi somersaults over the ball to launch it deep into the penalty area, only to see it sail all the way into the net after a touch from the goalke…

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Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari executed despite global outcry

Afkari had been convicted of killing security guard during anti-government protests in 2018Iran has executed a champion wrestler convicted of murdering a security guard during anti-regime protests in 2018, state media said on Saturday, despite an inter…

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My favourite game: Argentina v Iran, 2014 World Cup

From despair and frustration to hugs and flying beers for my dad and I after Lionel Messi struck in style right at the deathThe Argentinian radio journalist Alejandro Fantino shouted “We are a disaster” in the 89th minute. He was right. The match that …

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Iran’s only female Olympic medallist says she has quit country

Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh described herself as ‘one of millions of oppressed women in Iran’Iran’s only female Olympic medallist has said she intends to leave the Islamic republic, in a blistering online statement in which she describes herself a…

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Sergino Dest: Ajax’s USA defender leaves Qatar training camp amid Iran tensions

Dutch club were training in Middle East during winter breakPlayer said he felt uncomfortable after recent incidentsAjax and USA defender Sergino Dest is leaving the club’s winter training camp in Qatar, amid high tensions in the Middle East, the club a…

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Colin Kaepernick attacks US ‘imperialism’ in wake of Suleimani strike

Former NFL star has been long-term critic of US policiesKareem Abdul-Jabbar: Kaepernick is America’s black GrinchColin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who has used his platform to highlight racial injustice within the United States, has turned his atte…

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Chess: Iran’s Alireza Firouzja, 16, bypasses ban on playing Israelis

The No 1-ranked teenage player opts to play under Fide’s flag at the world speed chess championships in MoscowAlireza Firouzja, the 16-year-old Iranian, who ranks as the world’s top teenager, is competing this weekend under the international chess body…

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Afshin Ghotbi: ‘1998 had a bigger magnitude for Iranians than Americans’

The widely travelled coach has lived for long periods in the US and Iran, giving him insight into life – and football – in both countriesWhether Afshin Ghotbi is the most successful American coach working today is something that can be debated but when…

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Don’t applaud Iran for letting some women watch football – it is not enough

Around 3,500 women will see the World Cup qualifier against Cambodia but a complete end to the ban and other important steps are neededEven the faintest praise for the Iranian Football Association as the clock has ticked towards Thursday’s World Cup qu…

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Iranian women allowed to watch football at stadium for first time in decades

Women free to watch World Cup qualifier after ban liftsThose attending in Tehran will be segregated from menIranian women will be able to enter a football stadium on Thursday for the first time in decades, after Fifa threatened to suspend the Islamic r…

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Grotesque tragedy unlikely to shame Fifa into action over Iran’s ban on female fans | Marina Hyde

Toothless urgings followed the death of Sahar Khodayari, who – faced with prison for trying to watch football – set herself on fireThe grim tragedy of Sahar Khodayari once again forces Fifa to pick the most expedient version of itself. Is it an organis…

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Maryam Shojaei helps Iran’s female football fans carry fight for admission | Suzanne Wrack

Gianni Infantino’s efforts have not had much impact and, with World Cup qualifiers soon, the wait to attend games continues“They think that, if they give up on this, it’s a noose for them,” says Maryam Shojaei. “People will ask for more. If they give i…

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‘I wouldn’t be the refugee, I’d be the girl who kicked ass’: how taekwondo made me

When she arrived in the US as a 10-year-old refugee, Dina Nayeri found it hard to fit in. But that all changed when she hatched a plan to get into Harvard – by becoming a taekwondo championWhen I was 13, three years after arriving in the US with my mot…

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Boxer Sadaf Khadem cancels return to Iran after arrest warrant issued

• Sadaf Khadem fought Anne Chauvin in France on Saturday• Boxer defied Iranian rules over women’s sporting dressSadaf Khadem, the first female Iranian boxer to win an overseas fight, intends to stay in France, where she fought last weekend, after an ar…

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Undercover: female football fans in Iran

For nearly 40 years, Iranian women have been banned from watching stadium football matches. The photographer Forough Alaei, a World Press Photo winner in the sports category for her Crying for Freedom series, describes following the story of Zeinab, on…

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Iran opens door to women at football but will anything really change?

A small number of women watched an Iran friendly and a cup final but the head of the judiciary has said it is sinful for them to see ‘half-naked men’ playNormal service has resumed at Iranian football grounds and that spells bad news for the country’s …