Iranian soccer supporters wave their country's flag following a friendly match at the Azadi, (freedom) stadium in Tehran, Iran on Nov. 18, 2014.
Vahid Salemiā€”AP

Iran announced on Saturday it would allow women to attend major sporting events, according to The New York Times. Previously, women were not allowed inside stadiums for games attended by men.

The announcement came from Abdolhamid Ahmad, Iran’s deputy sports minister with its Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and was made to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

From the Times:

A Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports official told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency that women and their families would be allowed to attend most athletic events, except for those of “masculine” sports, like wrestling or swimming, during which male athletes wear uniforms or suits that cover little of their bodies.

Women will most likely be assigned to special sections in the stadiums, while mixed seating will be available for families.

Ahmad said the new policy will come into effect during this Iranian calendar year.

Last week, an appeals court dismissed charges against Ghoncheh Ghavami, an Iranian-British activist who was arrested last June after trying to attend a men’s volleyball match in Iran. She was convicted and sentenced to a year in jail, but was released on bail after five months.

The Times also said Saturday’s announcement was apparently timed to coincide with the recent breakthrough in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

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