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Women in black chador watch men playing volleyball in Taleghani park on October 11, 2013 in Tehran, Iran.
Kaveh Kazemi—Getty Images

Iran has eased up its strict gender segregation laws to allow women to attend some men’s sporting events — although not soccer, the country’s most popular sport.

Volleyball, basketball, handball and tennis matches will be open to a “limited number” of women attendees, mostly family members of players, Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi told the Associated Press. Soccer, swimming and wrestling matches, however, would remain no go zones.

Molaverdi expressed hope that the modest reforms would forestall a showdown with regime hardliners, who gained worldwide attention after authorities arrested a British-Iranian for attending a men’s volleyball match last year.

“If it practically happens a few times, the concerns will be completely removed and it will be proven that allowing women to watch men’s sports matches is not problematic,” she said.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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