International Volleyball Federation President (FIVB) Dr Ary S Graça has claimed there should be an "intelligent" and "clever" way to resolve the issue of women's attendance at matches in Iran but will not get directly involved following the arrest of British-Iranian citizen Ghoncheh Ghavami.
The 25-year-old, a law student at the University of London, was visiting family in Iran and volunteering with a charity to help street children read and write, when she was detained.
A ban on women attending football matches in Iran has been in place since 1979, but this was extended to volleyball games in 2012.
More then 130 women's rights activists have written to Graça and demanded he protect the right of Iranian women to enter sports stadiums and attend volleyball matches.
Among the women to have signed the letter is 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian to be awarded the prize.
Amnesty International claim they have had no access to Ghavami or even her case file.
Ghavami's London-based brother, Iman, has also set up an online petition "Bring my sister home; #FreeGhonchehGhavami خواهرم را به خانه برگردانید" to put pressure on Iran and other national Governments in an effort to secure her safe release.
At the time of writing this almost 170,000 people have signed the petition.
Graça, however, claimed the FIVB had no power to force the Iranian Government to change its views.
He did reveal, though, they are talking to the Government, through the Iranian National Federation, on the importance of women being allowed into stadiums.
"Positively speaking we cannot do anything because it is not our country," he said.
"But we have started talking to the Government of Iran explaining the importance of the women to be in the stadium.
"I'm not ready to go against the culture of the people, the religion - No, no, no.
"But there we must have an intelligent way, a clever way to put the women in one side of the stadium and the men in the other side of the stadium.
"I receive a lot of emails complaining that they cannot go to the stadium, this is a matter for diplomacy.
"We have to try to do something without offending the culture of other countries."
Volleyball is among Iran's most popular sports.
The team finished sixth in the World Championships, which finished in Poland on Sunday (September 21).
"We have a good programme of volleyball and people follow the matches and the performances of our national teams when we are away," Iranian captain Mir Saeid Marouf said during the Championships.
But it is alleged that Iranian police and security agents prevented women from attending any of the FIVB World League volleyball matches between Iran and Brazil, Italy, and Poland.
At the first game of the League on June 13, in which Iran played Brazil, Iranian women were prevented from entering the Azadi Stadium, although Brazilian women were allowed to attend.
A week later, during the Iran-Italy match, the police harassed, physically assaulted, and arrested several women who were attempting to enter the Stadium and attend the game, including a Fatemeh Jamalpour, a female journalist for Shargh newspaper, who had gone to the Stadium to report on the match, it is alleged.
Jamalpour described the incident on her Facebook page, claiming she was slapped around the face by police and held in detention for six hours.
But Graça claimed it was not up to the FIVB to resolve the issue.
"This is a problem for the National Federation of Iran," he added.
"We're trying to make effort through the Federation.
"We're not talking to the Government; the Federation is talking to the Government and also the Asian Confederation.
"I cannot say to other countries what to do; it's the country, the religion of them.
"I cannot interfere on that.
"The only thing I can do is to open negotiation through the Federation."
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