Elnaz Ragabi: Iranian rock climber returns to Tehran after competing without a headscarf


An Iranian rock climber, who did not wear a headscarf in an international competition in South Korea, has returned to her Iran Meanwhile, Iranian groups based abroad are raising concerns about their fate back home.

Elnaz Rakabi, 33, competed without a headscarf during the Asian Championships held in Seoul on Sunday. Videos of her wearing a headband and her hair in a ponytail during the competition went viral on social media.

According to the Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency, Rikabi arrived in Tehran early Wednesday morning. Videos posted on social media show her arrival at the capital’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. She was also seen speaking to the media.

A still image from a Twitter video showing Elnaz Rekabi returning to Tehran after competing without a headscarf.

More videos posted on social media appeared to show crowds gathered inside and outside the airport, chanting “Elnaz the hero.”

It was not clear if Rikabi was in custody or if she would face repercussions.

Her return to Iran comes amid National protests in the country Calling for more freedoms for women, continued(g) The death of a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody After she was arrested for allegedly wearing a headscarf inappropriately.

karadsheh protest vpx

A protester said Iranian security forces fired “military bullets” at homes

In a story posted on my passenger Instagram page on Tuesday, the player said she was called to climb the wall “unexpectedly” which “unintentionally” caused a problem with her hair cap.

“Because of poor timing and unexpectedly being called to climb the wall, I inadvertently created a problem with my headgear,” she wrote.

The IG story said, “I apologize for the concerns I’ve caused… Currently, as per the predetermined schedule, I will be returning to Iran with the team.”

She reiterated that she “accidentally” competed without jihad in an interview with state media and the Islamic Republic News Agency of Iran when she arrived in Tehran on Wednesday.

“Regarding this topic, as I have already explained in my social media stories – it just happened by chance,” Rakabi said when asked about the incident by the interviewer.

“I was called unexpectedly and attended the competition. I was somehow busy with the equipment, which made me neglect to wear it.

Iran requires women to wear the headscarf when officially representing the country abroad.

In an interview on Tuesday, before the climber returned to Tehran, her brother Daoud Rakabi told the pro-state Tasmin news agency that his sister would “always play in the national team uniform”.

My sister was wearing a hijab, but she was wearing a headband, and unfortunately some people [took advantage] of the case,” he said.

My sister is a child from Iran, and she will always play in the national team uniform. Elnaz belongs to this land, and she will always play for this country.”

It is unclear whether his statements were made under duress.

A news website critical of the Iranian regime, IranWire, claimed that Rikabi would be taken to prison upon her arrival, prompting rights groups to worry about what would happen to her.

On Monday, Amnesty International said it was concerned about the possible return of my passengers.

Amnesty said in a statement that “Elnaz Rekabi should not be forcibly returned to Iran,” adding that she “is at real risk of arbitrary arrest, torture and other ill-treatment for violating the authorities’ mandatory veil rules.”

CNN cannot independently verify reports that Rachabi has been forced back to Iran.

The Iranian embassy in Seoul said Rakabi left Tuesday with “other members of the team” and “strongly denied all false and false news and disinformation.”

The embassy posted on Twitter a photo of Rekapi from previous matches in Russia where she was competing while wearing a headscarf.

“It is understood that all members of the Iranian delegation, including Elnaz Rekabi, have already left Korea after attending the sporting event,” South Korea’s foreign ministry told CNN in a statement.

Iran requires women to wear the headscarf when officially representing the country abroad.

“The punishment has already begun,” Mahmoud Reza Amiri Moghadam, director of the Norway-based Iranian Human Rights Organization, told CNN on Tuesday.

“You know, the fact that she was incommunicado for a whole day… Then she just wrote this message on her Instagram. So, the pressure on her really started from South Korea,” he said, “I don’t think anyone believes what the authorities are saying. Iranian”.

The International Federation of Sports Climbing (IFSC) said it was “fully aware of the news” about my runner and “understood” that she will be returning to Iran.

There is a lot of information in the public domain about Ms. Rakabi and as an organization we are trying to establish the facts. “We have also been in contact with Ms. Rekabi and the Iranian Climbing Association,” a statement from the IFSC said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves as soon as it arrives,” the statement said.

Calls made to two of the Iranian team’s coaches who are currently in Seoul went unanswered.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the day my passengers were said to have left Seoul.

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