A sports complex in Tehran has been shut down due over a mixed-sex yoga event and what the authorities termed “abnormal sports activity”.
It came after a video surfaced showing a large, mixed yoga class that was held at the Iran Mall Sports Complex as part of a private event, under the instruction of a woman whose hair was not fully covered. Some of the other women present were also not wearing hijab while exercising.
Promotional videos from the event caused uproar among socially conservative Iranians, who castigated the management on Twitter and pointed out how much the complex had cost to build. Another video from the same program showed a male instructor leading men and women together in a high-intensity workout.
میدونین اینجا کجاست؟ اینجا جاییه که برای تاسیسش 40برابر سقف مصوب بانک مرکزی وام با تخلف گرفته شده— پژمان مهرجو (@Pejman_Mehrjoo) July 16, 2022
گفتم بدونین تو چه زمین حاصل خیزی دارن با ورزش مختلط و بدون حجاب تیشه به ریشه قانون و فرهنگ کشورمون میزنن...#ایرانمال pic.twitter.com/wFvp7mxu2s
Ali Javadi, director-general of sports for Tehran province, told the IRGC-owned Fars News Agency Iran Mall would remain closed until the management committed to “obeying the law”. He claimed that Iran Mall had hosted a sports conference without the permission or input of his directorate, adding: “Not even the coaches were approved by us to lead sports in public.
“Women’s presence in public sporting events is possible, if they practice social modesty. If there is going to be intermingling between the sexes, a large proportion of those with an interest in sports will not be able to use the space.”
For its part, Iran Mall released a statement saying the video of the yoga class was a month old and related to an out-of-hours event. But it also claimed to have “dealt with” and severed ties with the organizer, who was said to have disregarded “the sensitivities of the complex’s cultural management”.