Iran’s supreme leader has vetoed a decision by the president to allow women into sports stadiums.
A government official said on Monday that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei opposed the move by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to allow women on to the stands – a suggestion which caused a furore in the clerical establishment.
It marked the first time Khamenei, who has the final word on matters of state in Iran’s system of clerical rule, has openly challenged government policy since Ahmadinejad’s inauguration last August.
Several high-ranking clerics had criticised Ahmadinejad’s announcement last month that women would be permitted to watch men compete in sports stadiums for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
There’s no truth to the rumor that Khameni has also ruled that no women (or men) be allowed to attend future matches played by the New York Red Bulls, on the grounds the team isn’t very good.