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Politics

Minister Claims Elnaz “Regrets Forgetting” Hijab

October 20, 2022
Akhtar Safi
1 min read
"Something happened to one of our female athletes in the last three or four days in a sports competition, and she explained everything to me completely yesterday," minister Hamid Sajjadi told reporters in Iran Thursday
"Something happened to one of our female athletes in the last three or four days in a sports competition, and she explained everything to me completely yesterday," minister Hamid Sajjadi told reporters in Iran Thursday

Iran's sports minister has claimed climber Elnaz Rekabi has "regrets" and was "sorry" for appearing without a hijab in an international competition on Sunday. 

"Something happened to one of our female athletes in the last three or four days in a sports competition, and she explained everything to me completely yesterday," minister Hamid Sajjadi told reporters in Iran Thursday.

"She explained to me how she had forgotten her hijab during her competition due to stress and that she was very sorry. She said she is ashamed."

Rekabi was questioned by two of Iran’s political and sports institutions upon her arrival in Tehran on Wednesday morning.  

Minutes later, while wearing a hat and hoodie instead of a headscarf, Rekabi appeared before state television cameras repeating what had previously been published on an Instagram story on her own account; namely, that she had "accidentally forgotten the mandatory hijab." 

Rekabi’s denials notwithstanding, she received a jubilant welcome on her return at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, as hundreds of people gathered and chanted her name, calling her a national hero. The crowd apparently intended to keep her safe from arrest. 

A few hours later, pictures of Rekabi standing next to Hamid Sajjadi, Iran’s Minister of Sports and Youth, were published. Her brother Davoud Rekabi was also present. IranWire sources have said that Elnaz Rekabi did not go home from the airport and instead was whisked to meetings with Sajjadi and with a sports official.

Photos of the meeting were apparently taken but have not been published. Rekabi’s friends and family told IranWire they are still afraid she may be arrested and that the photos could be used in an attempt to say that Rekabi was free from arrest. 

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