November 26, 2022

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Elnaz Rakabi: Fans cheer and clap as climber returns to Iran

Elnaz Rakabi: Fans cheer and clap as climber returns to Iran

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian climber Elnaz Rakabi, who sparked controversy by contesting an international competition without the hijab, has returned to Iran to cheer her supporters, and confirmed in statements to state media that she had inadvertently wore it without a hijab.

Video footage showed Rekabi, 33, climbing a wall without covering her head while representing Iran in a competition in South Korea, at a time of unprecedented protests in Iran over the death of a young woman being held by morality police for “improper dress”. “

In comments to state television upon her arrival in Tehran, Rekabi said she had returned “in good health” and apologized “to the people of Iran for the disturbances and anxiety it has caused,” with her head covered with a baseball cap and hoodie. I spoke.

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She added, “The struggle I had with putting on my shoes and preparing my gear made me forget the proper veil I should have worn, and I went to the wall and climbed.”

A crowd of well-wishers cheered, applauded and recorded the scene on mobile phones as she was led away from the airport, according to a video posted on Twitter.

In a statement posted on her Instagram account, Tuesday, Rekabi cited a poor schedule as the reason for her competition without a headscarf, saying she was called up to climb unexpectedly.

Rekabi, who took fourth place in the competition, denied in her TV comments that she could not be reached for 48 hours, and said that the team returned to Iran as planned. She said she had no plan to leave the national team.

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BBC Persian reported on Tuesday that friends had not been able to contact her, and there were concerns for her safety. Iran’s embassy in South Korea, via Twitter, denied reports that it had disappeared after the competition.

The IOC said it had spoken with the athlete and had received assurances from the Iranian National Olympic Committee that she would not face consequences.

“A joint meeting was held today between the International Olympic Committee, the International Climbing Federation (IFSC) and the Iranian Olympic Committee, during which the IOC and the International Service Commission (IFSC) received clear assurances that Ms. Rekabi will not suffer any consequences and will continue to train and compete,” a spokesperson for the Committee said. International Olympic.

Another joint meeting was then held between the groups and Recap, the spokesperson said, adding that the IOC would be closely monitoring the situation in the coming days and weeks.

Mahsa Amini’s death last month while in the custody of the Islamic Republic’s morality police, who held her for “improper clothing”, sparked protests across the country in which women removed and burned their headscarves.

The protests sparked by Amini’s death have grown into one of the boldest challenges facing the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution, although the unrest does not appear close to toppling the regime.

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Reporting from the Dubai Newsroom. Additional reporting by Carlos Grumman; Editing by William MacLean and Frank Jack Daniel’s

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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