Elnaz Rekab, who did not wear a hijab at an international sports competition and was tricked into entering the Iranian embassy in Seoul, South Korea, was due to arrived in Tehran at 330am Wednesday morning, IranWire can report.
She reportedly departed the Qatari capital of Doha after midnight yesterday on flight QR490 to Tehran. Her family, meanwhile, had not received news about her brother, Davood Rekabi, after he was summoned to an intelligence agency office.
Iran's state television was also expected to be at the airport to interview her on arrival.
Elnaz Rekabi, 33, competed at a Seoul climbing tournament on Sunday, October 16, without her state-mandated headscarf, or hijab, in a sign of solidarity with the nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini last month. Mahsa was arrested by Iran's morality police on September 13 for "improper" obedience to the country's dress code and died in custody three days later.
Rekabi's defiant move was praised worldwide but attracted criticism within Iran – which requires female Iranian athletes to cover their hair with a hijab and their arms and legs with loose clothing even when they compete outside the country.
Rekabi posted an apology on her Instagram yesterday morning in which she said her hijab dropped by mistake. Many observers saw the post as suspicious or forced.
Fears began to circulate after Rekabi's family and friends were unable to contact her a day after the competition. Reza Zarei, the head of Iran's Climbing Federation, later tricked her into entering the Iranian embassy building in Seoul yesterday after he received orders from Mohammad Khosravivafa, Iran's Olympic Committee chairman, a source told IranWire.
Khosravivafa, meanwhile, received his orders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. He lured Rekabi into the embassy after promising her safe travel to Iran.