Iran See Red After Footballers Pose for Selfies With Female Fans in Australia
Women of Iranian origin posted their selfies with national players who are in Australia for the Asian Cup finals. The photos have enraged authorities back home.
Several women supporters of the Iranian national football team got a chance to click selfies with their superstars. What was a dream come true for them turned into a nightmare for the players, who are in Australia for Asian Cup finals. While the Iranian expatriates did what fans do all over, conservative authorities back home were shocked - issuing a stern warning to the players.
Australia have a sizeable Iranian community and fans have thronged every match that the 2014 World Cupper have played. Vociferous in their support from the stands, many were understandably ecstatic when they got a chance to get themselves snapped with the players. The photos almost instantly made their way to social networking sites, leaving Iranian authorities both amazed and angry.
According to a report in Sydney Morning Herald, the Iranian Football Federation's disciplinary committee immediately issued a warning to the players to steer clear from the women - many dressed in casual western attires.
"Players are not allowed to pose for selfies with female fans," an official -- Ali Akbar Mohamedzade -- was quoted as saying. "They [the women] may later use these photos for political ransom against our country or sue the players for harassment. If the players refuse to act according to our clear instructions then we will be left with no option but to deal with them."
Iranians are known for their passionate love for football. Back home, the sport is immensely popular with people of all ages. There is, however, a strict sex segregation and women are not allowed to attend men's matches.
In fact, a British-Iranian woman --Ghoncheh Ghavami -- was even jailed for attending a men's volleyball match. It created a furore across the world but the Islamic state continues to have strict rules in place.
These rules though do not apply abroad - a fact reinforced by women of Iranian origin who have been regular at the team's matches in Australia. Mohamedzade feels most of them have appeareances which are in sharp contrast to Iranian morals.
"In some of the selfies that our players have taken with the fans we can see they appear next to people whose appearance we regard as being against our moral principles," he said.
"I have therefore had to contact the national coach and questioned him about this issue and he has explicitly denied having agreed to posting of such selfies on social networks."