Tehran sports complex closed due to mixed yoga class

A sports complex in Tehran has been closed due to a mixed yoga event and what authorities called “abnormal sports activity”.

It came after a video surfaced showing a large mixed yoga class held at the Iran Mall sports complex as part of a private event, led by a woman whose hair was not fully covered. Some of the other women present also did not wear hijab while exercising.

Promotional videos of the event caused an outcry among socially conservative Iranians, who lambasted the management on Twitter and pointed out how much the complex had cost to build. Another one video from the same program showed a male instructor leading men and women together in a high-intensity workout.

Ali Javadi, director general of sports in Tehran province, told the IRGC-owned Fars news agency that Iran Mall would remain closed until the management pledged to “obey the law”. He claimed that Iran Mall held a sports conference without its management’s permission or input, adding, “Even the coaches were not approved by us to run the sport in public.

“The presence of women in public sporting events is possible, if they practice social modesty. If there is to be a mix between the sexes, a large part of those interested in the sport will not be able to use the space.

For its part, Iran Mall released a statement saying that the yoga class video was a month old and related to an after-hours event. But she also claimed to have “dealed” with and severed ties with the organizer, who allegedly ignored “the cultural management sensitivities of the resort”.