Ali Asghar Purmohammadi, the man responsible for broadcasting sports programs on Iran's state-run television, has said he is trying to convince Iranian authorities to give special permission to broadcast female competitions in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Now why would he need a special permission? Because Iran usually frowns upon competitions that show female athletes not observing the Islamic dress code.
The strict dress code has prevented female Iranian athletes from participating in many sports that force its own dress code, such as swimming, diving, gymnastics, cycling, and other sports. Out of the 53 Iranian athletes who will compete in the Beijing Olympics, only three are women: one Iranian female will compete in rowing, archery, and tae kwon do.
Unless the authorities grant the special permission, the Iranian public will miss on cheering even those few female athletes that did make it.
â€œThey obey all the rules. They are allowed to take part in sports. So why shouldn't they be shown on television?â€ Fatemeh Sepanji, a Tehran-based sports commentator asks. â€œObviously they will be shown [on TV] all over the world [when they compete in the Olympics]. What is the point of showing them in one country and hiding them in another?â€