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Politics

Iranian Authorities Deny Persecuting Female Rock Climber

October 18, 2022
IranWire
1 min read
Elnaz was without a hijab when she entered the final Asian climbing competition in the South Korean capital Seoul on Sunday
Elnaz was without a hijab when she entered the final Asian climbing competition in the South Korean capital Seoul on Sunday

The Iranian embassy in South Korea has confirmed that Enlaz Rekabi has left Soul and was on her way to Tehran Tuesday morning.

Elnaz was without a hijab when she entered the final Asian climbing competition in the South Korean capital Seoul on Sunday.

The Iranian embassy in Seoul said Rekabi "departed from Seoul to Iran, early morning of October 18, along with the other members of the team".

"The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in South Korea strongly denies all the fake, false news and disinformation regarding Ms. Elnaz REKABI," it said.

Sources told IranWire that Reza Zarei, the head of Iran's Climbing Federation, tricked her into the Iranian embassy building in Seoul over the weekend after he received orders from Mohammad Khosravivafa, Iran's Olympic Committee chairman.

Khosravivafa received orders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). He moved her into the embassy after promising Rekabi safe travel to Iran.

"Elnaz made her decision to appear without a hijab around a month ago and knew that she was going to compete without the mandatory hijab," A source told IranWire. "She did not seek asylum either because her husband is in Iran, and she wanted to return after the competition. She always makes such bold decisions."

But in a story on her Instagram account, she said it was unintentional to appear without a hijab and she was on her way back to Tehran Tuesday. 

Last year, Rekabi became the first Iranian woman to win a medal at the sport climbing world championships. She finished fourth at last weekend's event in South Korea.

Elnaz was representing Iran. Hijab is also mandatory for Iranian women in sports competitions. However, for the past month, people in Iran have been protesting against the hijab after the death of a young woman who was killed allegedly not wearing a hijab. 

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