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Iran Women’s Soccer Captain Prevented from Playing Abroad after Husband Confiscates Passport

The captain of Iran’s women’s soccer team will not be competing in the Asian Cup tournament after her husband confiscated her passport, preventing her from traveling abroad, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The dispute between 30-year-old midfielder Niloufar Ardalan and her husband, sports journalist Mahdi Toutounchi, touches on the rights of women in the Islamic Republic. Under Iranian law, husbands can stop their wives from traveling outside of the country.

News of Ardalan missing the tournament came Monday, when Iranian news website fararu.com reported that Ardalan wouldn’t be traveling to Malaysia for the Asian Cup, which begins Thursday. Ardalan’s husband reportedly wanted her to be home for their son’s first day of school.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Ardalan said foreign media was exaggerating her case, but also acknowledged she would be missing the tournament. She also made a call for Iran to change its laws governing married women’s travel.

Iranian female soccer players compete wearing a hijab to cover their hair.

Last year, Iran was elected to serve on UN Women, a United Nations body governing women’s equality.

In June, women were barred from attending a volleyball match in Tehran after a cleric charged that their attendance “promotes prostitution.” Last year, Ghoncheh Ghavami, a British-Iranian citizen, was jailed for five months when she attempted to attend a volleyball match.

[Photo: VOA Farsi / YouTube ]