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Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian women were freely allowed Thursday to attend a World Cup qualifying soccer match in Tehran for the first time since 1981, reports the New York Times.

Why it matters: It marks a significant step in the push for increased gender equality in Iran and turned the team's throttling of Cambodia (final score: 14-0) into what the Times branded one of "the most consequential sporting events to be played in years."

  • Women have been protesting the ban since its inception — even disguising themselves as men to gain entry to matches.
  • FIFA had long remained silent on the issue, but contemplated banning Iran from the 2022 World Cup as a result — which would be a harsh sanction against a successful team.
  • The issue made waves internationally after a female fan, Sahar Khodayari, died after setting herself on fire earlier this year following a 6-month prison sentence for attending a soccer game.

The big picture: The policy change only applies to matches between Iran's national teams and other countries. It's still not clear if women will be allowed to attend domestic club matches.

  • Officials also capped the number of women allowed to attend Thursday's match at a few thousand, even though the stadium can seat 78,000 — resulting in a largely empty stadium with a packed section of female fans.

In photos:

The Iranian women were sectioned off from the rest of the stadium even though it was the only full section at the Iran-Cambodia match on Thursday. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images

Go deeper: Trump's anti-Iran strategy is facing its greatest test

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.