Iran General NewsIranians Cheer 1-0 Win and Trip to World Cup

Iranians Cheer 1-0 Win and Trip to World Cup

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New York Times: People across this city took to the streets in joy on Wednesday after the Iranian soccer team qualified for the World Cup finals by beating Bahrain, 1-0. Drivers poured onto the streets honking their horns and shouting, “Iran! Iran!” In Africa Street, thousands of people danced to loud music played over sound systems in cars as the police watched in silence. New York Times

By NAZILA FATHI

TEHRAN – People across this city took to the streets in joy on Wednesday after the Iranian soccer team qualified for the World Cup finals by beating Bahrain, 1-0.

Drivers poured onto the streets honking their horns and shouting, “Iran! Iran!” In Africa Street, thousands of people danced to loud music played over sound systems in cars as the police watched in silence. Women took off their mandatory head scarves and danced with men who apparently were strangers. In another area, Ressalat, shopkeepers closed their stores and distributed flowers.

Women also scored a victory when about 200 of them forced their way into the stadium to watch the game. Women have been barred from viewing stadium events since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. The women were allowed to enter after they chanted for hours, “My right is also a human right.” One woman’s leg was broken when security guards tried to shut the gate to keep them out.

The celebrations remained apolitical even though Iranians will go to the polls in less than three weeks to elect a new president. Some people in cars that carried flags with pictures of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful politician and presidential candidate, said they did so only because they wanted to wave Iran’s flag at other cars and the flags were given to them free.

“Is this better now?” asked Amir Hossein, 21, as he made a hole in the middle of his flag to cut out Mr. Rafsanjani’s portrait. “I don’t care about any of the candidates. I am just happy that we made it to the World Cup.”

One young man, who introduced himself as Asghar, 19, and held a poster of Mr. Rafsanjani over his chest, was approached by a middle-aged women who grabbed the poster and tore it up. “You are not a real man if you vote for any of them,” she shouted, as a crowd applauded in joy. “Don’t ruin our happiness tonight with this.”

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