'I'm already missing a heartbeat': Iranian women get to watch their team at World Cup

    A female Iran fan cheers on her national team against Morocco at the World Cup.

    Story highlights

    • Iran 1-0 Morocco
    • Iran win first World Cup game in 20 years

    (CNN)For many Iranian women, their nation's opening World Cup match against Morocco was life-changing.

    "I'm already missing a heartbeat," tweeted Tara Sepehri Far, a researcher working for Human Rights Watch (HRW), as she posted a picture from the St. Petersburg Stadium.
      Iran bans women from attending men's sporting events. Breaking the rules could result in arrest, fines or even imprisonment.
      "We are so proud of the girls today who are willing to openly take the risks that we wouldn't, but they shouldn't have to face any consequences for such a natural act," wrote Iranian journalist Yeganeh Rezaian -- who lives in the US -- in the Washington Post earlier this week.
      "Enjoying sports as a woman should not be a crime."
      HRW has criticized the ban, which also runs counter to the FIFA statues, which prohibit gender discrimination. Article Four says discrimination of any kind is "punishable by suspension or expulsion."
      In March, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was criticized by HRW after he attended a top-level football match in Iran.
      "When Mr. Infantino was enjoying a football match in men-only stadium, Iranian female football fans were under arrest," wrote At OpenStadiums, an Iranian women's advocacy group ‎on Twitter.
      A female Iranian fan cheers on her team against Morocco.