US Soccer Star Aly Wagner Urges Solidarity With Iranian Women During Live World Cup Broadcast
Retired US women’s soccer star Aly Wagner on Friday issued a heartfelt plea for the rights of Iranian women, as she commented during a live broadcast of Iran’s opening clash with Morocco in Group B of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Criticizing the Tehran regime’s ban on women attending soccer matches — a policy imposed in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution — US national women’s team veteran Wagner remarked that “there has to be more movement in that country in support of the women, and equal rights.”
“Perhaps we could pipe this broadcast into the [Iranian] president’s office,” the Olympic Gold Medal winner and two-time women’s World Cup finalist added.
Wagner’s fellow match commentator, Derek Rae, opined that there was a “certain irony” in the ban.
“I say that because Iran has a great women’s futsal team,” Rae pointed out, referring to the country’s recent successes in the popular indoor variant of soccer.
Rae also noted that Iran’s captain, Masoud Shojaei, had become the first Iranian professional soccer player to openly call for an end to the ban on women’s attendance.
“They should set a course that women are also allowed to come to stadiums in the future,” Shojaei told Iranian news outlet Varsesh3.com this week.
The jubilant Iranians in Saint Petersburg who watched their team grab a 1-0 victory against Morocco in the dying moments of Friday’s match included plenty of female fans.
But in Tehran, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei avoided the subject of soccer entirely during a meeting with ambassadors from Islamic countries just before Friday’s contest.
Issuing another prediction of the imminent demise of the State of Israel instead, the 78-year-old Khamenei told his audience that the “Zionist regime is not going to last long.”
“There is no doubt that this regime, which is based on a false foundation, is going to be destroyed by efforts of Islamic countries,” Khamenei continued, in remarks that were carried by his regime’s official media outlets. “The people of Palestine — real Palestinians…should decide on the fate of the others who entered that country.”