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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described FIFA as “dictators” on Tuesday for a headscarf ban in soccer that affects the women’s team.The Iran team forfeited a 2012 Olympic qualifier against Jordan on Friday because it wouldn’t play without the hijabs.
“Theses are the dictators and colonialists who want to impose their lifestyle on others,” Ahmadinejad said at a news conference.
The Iran president said he’d assigned Ali Saeedlu, the head of Iran’s physical education, to pursue the case.
“We will deal with those who carried out this ugly job,” Ahmadinejad said. “We follow definite rights of our girls.”
Iran’s ambassador to Jordan, Mustafa Musleh Zadeh, said the ban was “inhumane” and “politically motivated.” Zadeh said Iran would complain to the Asian Football Federation.
The ambassador called FIFA’s ban “extremism,” similar to Afghanistan’s Taliban restrictions on women in sports.
FIFA said the ban on the Islamic scarf covering a women’s neck was for safety reasons. FIFA banned the hijab in 2007 and has extended the safety rule to include neck warmers.
At the 2010 Youth Olympics, Iran’s girls covered their hair with specially designed caps.