Iranian female football fan dies after setting herself on fire

She was known as the “Blue Girl” on social media for the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 September 2019
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Iranian female football fan dies after setting herself on fire

  • The woman set herself on fire after she learned that she faced jail for attending a football match
  • She then spent three nights in jail before being released pending the court case

TEHRAN, Iran: An Iranian female football fan has died after setting herself on fire outside a court after learning she may have to serve a six-month sentence for trying to enter a football stadium, a semi-official news agency reported Tuesday.
The death immediately drew an outcry among some football stars and known figures in Iran, where women are banned from football stadiums, though they are allowed at some other sports, such as volleyball.
The 30-year old woman, identified only as Sahar, died at a Tehran hospital on Monday, according to the Shafaghna news agency. She was known as the “Blue Girl” on social media for the colors of her favorite Iranian football team, Esteghlal.
She set herself on fire last week, reportedly after learning she may have to go to prison for trying to enter a stadium in March to watch an Esteghlal match. She was pretending to be a man and wore a blue hairpiece and a long overcoat when the police stopped her.
She then spent three nights in jail before being released pending the court case.
No verdict had been delivered in her case so far. There were reports that Sahar, who had graduated in computer sciences, had attempted to take her life once before, while in university.
Former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi — who played 127 matches for Iran and has been a vocal advocate of ending the ban on women — urged Iranians in a tweet to boycott football stadiums to protest Sahar’s death.
Iranian-Armenian football player Andranik “Ando” Teymourian, the first Christian to be the captain of Iran’s national squad and also an Esteghlal player, said in a tweet that one of Tehran’s major football stadiums will be named after Sahar, “once, in the future.”
Female lawmaker Parvaneh Salahshouri called Sahar “Iran’s Girl” and tweeted: “We are all responsible.”


Merkel urges return to Iran nuclear deal to defuse Middle East tensions

Updated 17 September 2019
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Merkel urges return to Iran nuclear deal to defuse Middle East tensions

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called for a return to an international deal curbing Iran’s nuclear activities as the only way to defuse tensions in the Middle East.
“We believe that the deal to stop Iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities is a building block we need to get back to,” Merkel said during a news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah.
“But there is also a long list of other burdens coming from Iran like the ballistic missiles program and its engagement in Syria,” she said. “In recent days tensions in the region rose and Germany will always be in favor of de-escalation and long-term solutions are only possible through a political process.”