Husband Keeping Iranian Soccer Star From Playing

Iranian law lets husbands to stop wives from traveling abroad
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2015 6:30 PM CDT
Iranian women's soccer captain Niloufar Ardalan, left, is missing a tournament in Malaysia this week because her husband refuses to renew her passport.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – An Iranian women's soccer star is being forced to miss a tournament in Malaysia this week because her husband, an Iranian sports journalist, is refusing to sign paperwork to renew her passport, Yahoo Sports reports. Iranian law allows husbands to forbid their wives from traveling outside the country, according to the AP. "I am only a national soldier who fights to raise flag of our country," Niloufar Ardalan, known as "Lady Goal," wrote on Instagram yesterday. "I wish a law would be approved that allows female soldiers to fight for raising the flag." Ardalan's husband, Mahdi Toutounchi, is refusing to let her attend the tournament, which starts tomorrow, because he doesn't want her missing their son's first day of school.

"This just shows to what extent this law can impact a woman's life," Iranian women's rights advocate Shadi Sadr told Radio Free Europe. "Even if a woman reaches the highest ranks in politics, sports, or culture, she still needs her husband's consent for one of her most basic rights—traveling abroad." While Ardalan claims foreign media is exaggerating her situation, she did call on Iran to change the law, according to the AP. "I wish authorities would create [measures] that would allow female athletes to defend their rights in such situations," Yahoo reports the midfielder telling an Iranian news agency. And she isn't alone, as many other Iranians sent message of support through social media. (Read more Iran stories.)

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