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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Women allowed in Iran stadium to watch World Cup match

Women in Iran were permitted to enter a football stadium for the first time since 1979 as fans gathered to watch the national team play in the World Cup on Wednesday.

Religious leaders have prevented women from entering stadiums in Iran for decades, though there is no official law against their admittance.

But with the help of some moderate politicians, the rules were relaxed to allow men and women to watch Iran face Spain on video screens from inside the Azadi stadium in Tehran.

The event was nearly halted before it began, however, as security forces shut the doors to the stadium and announced that it would not be available to screen the match.

But fans waited patiently outside, and politicians including the governor of Tehran province worked to allow them in an hour before the game began.

It wasn't the first time women had ever been in the stadium at all, though, as a group of women -- wearing fake beards and disguised as men -- attended a club match in May.

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