In Tehran, some of the women players that are part of its billiard sports competitions have been banned for a year. They are accused of violating the Islamic codes of conduct during a tournament in China.
“Women sent to China Open (billiard) competitions will be banned from all domestic and foreign competitions for one year for violating the Islamic code,” said the Disciplinary Committee of Bowling, Billiard and Boxing Federation in a statement.
The Federation did not reveal the nature of the alleged offences, noting that it would name the transgressors later, according to the India Times. Billiard sports include billiards, pool and snooker. Part of the dress requirements for women in Iran is wearing the hajib, an Islamic headscarf. The Islamic code of Iran also forbids women touching, dancing or singing with men outside of their families.
Women are also supposed to remain covered, only showing their faces, hands and feet in public, as well as dressing in what are deemed modest colors.
Although there are only a few billiard clubs in Iran that offer women’s hours, top Iranian women are now competing in international and national competitions. Akram Mohammadi became the first Iranian woman to ever win a medal in a major competition in October. She took the bronze at the Asian championships in the UAE.
She has also noted that the World Pool-Billiard Association had not tried to restrict her wearing of headscarves, unlike other sports.
This is not the first ban of its kind. Two months ago, the Iranian chess federation announced possible disciplinary action against an Iranian brother and sister for violating Islamic and political rules. Iranian chess players Dorsa Derakhshani and her brother Borna are facing these penalties after Dorsa played without the mandatory hajib and Borna played a game against an Israeli player. Dorsa currently lives in Spain.
Iranian women are facing laws that impose multiple restrictions on their dress, freedom of movement and freedom to speak about their experiences. Activists have launched movements to address the restrictions, particularly against the compulsory wearing of the hajib. Khamenei has called gender equality a Zionist plot to corrupt the role of women in Iranian society.
“Turning a woman into a commodity and means of pleasure in the Western world is most probably among plots hatched by Zionists to destroy human society. Unfortunately, sometimes [even] inside the country and in some Islamic environments, duties, and expectations are brought up for women, which in fact amount to degradation and humiliation of women,” said Khamenei in a translation from his website.
He noted that the two genders differed in “their duties towards managing life”, adding that there is no difference between men and women on the basis of their “ascension toward spiritual ranks, power of leadership and the ability to guide humanity.”