Iran’s Sports Minister, Masoud Soltanifar, on Thursday reported that Iranian women will be allowed into stadiums to watch the men’s national team play football.
Soltanifar wrote in a statement “All necessary preparations have been made so that women, initially however only for international games, can come into the football stadiums.
“At the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, where Iran play most of their matches and are due to host World Cup qualifiers from next month, separate entrances, stands and toilets have been prepared’’.
Soltanifar said there will also be extra police to ensure women can enter and leave the stadium safely.
Women had been banned from attending football matches in Iran for four decades.
A woman recently died after setting herself on fire in protest at being given a jail term for attempting to watch a club match.
Iranian President Hassan Rowhani is reportedly in favour of lifting the ban but has been unable to prevail against the wishes of Iran’s powerful clergy, which believes a stadium atmosphere is unsuitable for women.
However, the ban violates the statutes of football governing body FIFA meaning Iran could be threatened with sanctions.
The sanctions may include effectively being kicked out of the 2022 World Cup, if the ban remains in place.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said “I am hopeful that the Iranian Federation and the Iranian authorities were receptive to our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation.
“Our position is clear and firm.
“Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran.
“We understand there are steps and processes that need to be taken before this is done in a proper and safe way but now is the moment to change things.
“FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October’’.
Iran host Cambodia on Oct. 10 to continue qualifying for Qatar 2022.
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Iran reports 2,269 new COVID-19 cases, 169,425 in total
Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the Health Ministry, said during his daily update on Saturday that 75 people died overnight, taking the total fatalities over the virus to 8,209.
So far, 132,038 have recovered and 2,578 remain in critical condition, said Jahanpur.
Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.
In mid-February, at the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Iran lit up the Tehran Azadi (Liberty) Tower to show its solidarity with China, and donated 3 million masks to China. In return, China has delivered several shipments of medical supplies to Iran.
United States said diplomatic door with Iran remains open
The door is still open for a wider negotiation with Iran, United States Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Friday.
United States President Donald Trump “has had the door open to diplomacy for many years,” Hook replied to a journalist a day after Iran freed United States citizen Michael White. “We would like to see the (Iranian) regime meet our diplomacy with diplomacy.”
Hook noted as well that United States-Iranian contacts have so far been limited to mutual release of prisoners, not concerned issues like Iran’s nuclear program.
However, he reiterated that the United States will stick to its policy of harsh economic sanctions on Iran, designed to force the Middle East country back to the so-called negotiating table over the Iranian nuclear program.
Trump withdrew Washington from the multilateral Iranian nuclear accord in 2018 and resumed unilateral sanctions on Tehran.
Iraq signs 2-year deal to continue importing electricity from Iran
Iraq has signed a two-year contract to extend the import of electricity from neighboring Iran, the Ministry of Electricity said Friday.
According to the agreement, Iraq will continue to import electricity from Iran for the remaining period of 2020 and 2021, said Ahmed al-Abadi, the ministry’s spokesman, in a statement.
Earlier, Iranian Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian said an Iranian delegation signed on Wednesday in Baghdad an agreement with Iraqi Electricity Ministry to extend exporting electricity to Iraq.
Baghdad paid Tehran about 400 million United States dollars, which is half of Iraq’s due debts to Iran for electricity supplies, he added.
Iraq has been importing electricity for some years and fuel for some power stations from Iran which has been under United States sanctions.
However, Washington periodically excluded Iraq from the sanctions as the country has been suffering acute power shortage since 2003.
Iran confirms FM’s meeting with former United States envoy over prisoner’s release
Iran on Friday confirmed the country’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s talks with Bill Richardson, the former United States envoy to the United Nations, over the release of a United States prisoner in the Iranian jail, according to official IRNA news agency.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said Friday that the meeting between Zarif and Richardson was held months ago.
On Thursday, Iran released Michael White, a United States Navy veteran, who was detained nearly two years ago in Iran for security reasons.
On the same day, the United States released one Iranian scientist, Majid Taheri, who had been in the United States jail for “violating United States sanctions against Iran.”
On Wednesday, another Iranian scientist, Sirous Asgari, held by the American authorities was returned to Iran.
Iran, however, denied that Asgari has been released as part of a prisoner swap with the United States.
Mousavi said that Asgari was released after being acquitted of charges.
Iran urges lifting of Western sanctions on Syria
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Friday called for lifting Western sanctions on Syria, according to the ministry’s website.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed the renewal of European sanctions on Syria and recent introduction of new financial bans against the country as “unlawful and inhuman.”
“Most of sanctions’ negative consequences and harms will be borne by the ordinary people and citizens of Syria,” he said.
“Iran expresses solidarity with the resilient nation and government of Syria and calls for the lifting of all anti-human sanctions against Damascus so that the Syrians can meet their basic needs and repair the damage caused by Western-backed terrorist attacks against the country’s infrastructure,” said Mousavi.
Iran reports 2,886 new COVID-19 cases, 167,156 in total
During his daily briefing, Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the health ministry, said out of the new cases in the past 24 hours, 527 were hospitalized.
The pandemic has so far claimed the lives of 8,134 Iranians, up by 63 in the past 24 hours.
So far, 129,741 have recovered and been discharged from hospitals and 2,573 remain in critical condition.
Iran’s health officials have urged the people to wear facemasks in public place, particularly in the public transport means.
Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.
Iranian cargo ship sinks off Iraqi coast, 2 die
An Iranian cargo ship sank off the Iraqi coast on Thursday night, Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) announced on Friday.nnnn”The ship, which was carrying ceramic and constructional materials to Iraq’s Umm Qasr Port and had left (Iran’s southwestern port city of) Khorramshahr on Tuesday, sank last night in the Khor Abdullah maritime canal,” Nourollah Asadi, the director-general of Iran’s Bushehr Province’ Ports and Maritime Department, was quoted as saying by Tehran Times daily on Friday.nnnnIn the incident, two crew members died, four were rescued, and some others are missing, Nader Pasandeh, the PMO director for marine safety, told semi-official Mehr news agency on Friday.nnnnOperations are underway to find the missing crew, he said. n
Iran confirms release of United States prisoner
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday confirmed the release of United States prisoner Michael White, official IRNA news agency reported.
White was freed by a decree of an Iranian judge for human rights considerations and left the country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying.
On Wednesday, an Iranian scientist, Sirous Asgari, held by the American authorities returned to Iran.
Iran, however, denied that Asgari has been released as part of a prisoner swap with the United States.
Mousavi said that the Iranian scientist was released after being acquitted of charges.
Anambra poll: Aspirant urges PDP to reconsider zoning of ticket
Ozigbo, a former Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, stated this during an online news conference on Thursday in Awka.
He said the yearnings of the people of the state was that the Anambra South Senatorial District should produce the next governor of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the party leadership had said at an expanded South-East Zonal Executive Committee meeting in March that it was not considering zoning of the governorship ticket to any of the three senatorial zones of the state, “at least for now’’.
The National Vice Chairman of the PDP for South East, Chief Austin Umahi, had made the declaration, shortly after the meeting in Enugu.
The meeting was attended by governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, David Umahi of Ebonyi and the Deputy Governor of Abia, Senators Ike Ekweremadu and Sam Anayanwu and other current and past National Assembly members.
The governorship election will hold in November 2021.
“If the proper things are done and the race zoned to Anambra South Senatorial District, I will win the party primary and become the next governor of the state by the grace of God,’’ he said.
He, however, said that in spite of his party refusal to zone the race, he would still contest and win.
He said he was not afraid to contest against any candidate, including the ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.
“If my party gives me the governorship ticket and Soludo emerges in APGA or any other party, I will floor him.
“What Soludo has, I have more.
“It’s Soludo that will be bothering on how to beat me in the contest because I have the wherewithal and connection to contest and win the election.’’
Expressing confidence that he would emerge the consensus candidate of the PDP, Ozigbo said he had the goodwill of the majority of the party’s leaders in the state.
“I don’t have a godfather; God is my godfather but I have the goodwill of the leaders of our party.
“Some have linked me with Mr Peter Obi, Chief Chris Uba, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and a host of others.
“That shows I’m popular across the board,’’ Ozigbo said.
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