Wednesday, December 7

Concern for Elnaz Rekabi: Iranian climber who competed without headscarf says it was ‘involuntary’

The Iranian climber who competed without a veil in Seoul this weekend, Elnaz Rekabi, published a strange message on her social networks on Tuesday apologizing for not having worn the veil in the competition and has assured that it was due to an action ” involuntary” because she was called to climb unexpectedly.

“I apologize for the concerns I caused,” Rekabi said in a message posted on Instagram. The message points out that the “problem” with the clothing was due to poor programming and the organization’s unexpected call to compete. “I am currently returning to Iran with the team, according to the pre-established schedule,” added the athlete.

Islamic Republic law requires all Iranian women, including athletes in international competitions, to wear a headscarf.

The images of Rekabi, who competed over the weekend without wearing the veil, have gone around the world and her gesture was seen as a brave show of support for the women of her country, who have been protesting against the compulsory nature for more than a month. to wear the veil.

The protests in Iran began on September 16 after the death of the young Kurdish Mahsa Amini, 22, who was arrested three days earlier by the morality police for allegedly wearing the veil wrongly and who lost her life under the police custody.

The Iranian embassy in South Korea has assured that Rekabi left Seoul this morning for Tehran, along with other members of her team, and has denied reports that she is missing or has been detained.

However, the BBC reported on Monday that her friends had been unable to contact her. The British chain points out that other women who have competed abroad without wearing the headscarf have been pressured by Iranian authorities to post similar messages of apology. Several people consulted by the BBC believe that the language of the publication suggests that it has been written under pressure.