IRAN — A court on Wednesday suspended the head of Iran’s women’s basketball team and the two-time Olympic gold medalist of the men’s game for posting videos on social media of women in burqas wearing clothing deemed “irrelevant” for their professions, including their clothing.
The ruling came a day after the women’s team was stripped of the bronze medal it won in the 2010 world championships in London.
The women’s league, the National Basketball Association of Iran, had said it would appeal the decision.
The case, first reported by state-run news agency Fars, is part of a broader crackdown on women’s sports in Iran that has come under renewed scrutiny amid the country’s nuclear deal with world powers.
The government has said it wants to protect women’s rights, but the country remains the world’s biggest exporter of women’s apparel.
The U.S. government imposed sanctions on Iran in response to the womens’ team’s gold-medal win, and has repeatedly criticized the country for not enforcing Islamic dress codes.
A spokesman for the countrys sports ministry told Fars that the league was aware of the suspension and that it would have to appeal the ruling.
“The court is acting in accordance with its constitutional duty and the decision of the court,” the ministry spokesman said.
He said the team was considering whether to appeal.
“As far as we are concerned, the court will make its decision as soon as possible,” the spokesman said, declining to comment on what the court might do next.
The two-year-old league was formed by Iranian officials to compete at the Olympic Games in 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In May, the IRAN Basketball Federation said it was suspending the team and had suspended all of its female players, citing the government’s “unhealthy attitude toward women’s sport.”
In an open letter, IRAN basketball players criticized the suspension, saying it violated their right to freedom of expression and association.
“We have been receiving messages that our sport is in jeopardy, and that is a direct violation of our rights,” IRAN NBA commissioner Zainab Al-Baghdadi said.
“This is not a decision taken lightly.
We will continue to fight for the rights of women and girls to participate in sports in our country.”