In 2015, eight Iranian athletes were not able to travel because of their husband’s disapproval. The total number of women who undergo a similar fate is unknown. One of them, the captain and a star player of the Iranian Futsal team, could not attend the Asian Confederation Futsal championship in Malaysia in September of that year. Her husband denied her the permission to leave the country.
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, married women need the written permission of their husband to be able to apply for a passport and to leave the country. At any moment, a husband can cancel this permission, preventing the spouse from leaving the country. In this case, the spouse also sees her passport confiscated by border officers. This specific incident brought out, particularly on social networks, an intense debate on Iranian laws, the limitations of women’s rights and the misuse these limitations have led to.
Source: The Independent, September 2015; extracts from ‘A Futsal female player denied competing by her husband,’
An Iranian woman is not allowed to
- Leave the country without her husband’s permission
- Divorce without the husband’s permission
- Refuse to have sexual intercourse with her husband, who can then deny her any alimony
- Testify in court unless she is accompanied by two men
- Drive without a veil or being properly veiled or she risks getting her car confiscated
- Sing in public or on a stage
- Have a choice of the same number of University courses as men
- Attend sports games in stadiums
In Iran, the right to divorce is the privilege of men. Women can only ask for divorce in very limited cases defined by law and according to the goodwill of the court. An Iranian woman only obtains a divorce with great difficulty. She then faces two options: either she gets her right to divorce written into the marriage act but only few women take this precaution, or she obtains a mutual agreement. When the divorce initiative comes from the wife, the mehrieh is a tool used to obtain a mutual agreement. By renouncing their dowry, women can then get a divorce that the legal system denies them.
Source: ' An Iranian Separation' Liberation
translated by Diane Gabrysiak