Iran’s footballers have been told they must not take “selfie” pictures with female fans who have turned out in large numbers at the Asian Cup in Australia.

Ali Akbar Mohamedzade, the head of the Iranian Football Federation’s moral committee said players risked being used as a “political tool” if snapped with women fans.

Women are banned from attending men’s sports events in Iran but they hve attended in significant numbers in Australia.

Mohamedzade spoke after photos of players with women fans circulated on social media.

“National team players should be aware that they won’t be used as a political tool so that those who take pictures with them don’t use these photos against the players,” Iran’s Shahrvand newspaper quoted him as saying.

“So according to this they should not take photos with everyone. If the players don’t respect this, we will be obliged to take action.”

One female fan Tweeted pictures of goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi and midfielder Karim Ansari Fard posing with women, while another photo shows a woman holding an Iranian flag which includes a marriage proposal to Haghighi.

Iran goalie Alireza Haghighi

Iran goalie Alireza Haghighi has proved a hit with female Iranian fans at the Asia Cup.

“We are monitoring what is happening in Australia, we haven’t sent any representative to Australia,” Mohamedzade was quoted as saying.

Three-time champions Iran are already through to the quarter-finals.