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SEOUL, South Korea – An Iranian competitive climber left South Korea on Tuesday after competing in an event in which she climbed without the country’s mandatory headscarf covering, officials said. Persian-language media outside Iran warned that she may have been forced out of her early by Iranian authorities and that she could be arrested upon her return, but Tehran quickly denied .

Ernaz Rekabi, a multiple medalist in the competition, has decided not to wear a headscarf or hijab after protests sparked the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman in custody. This is because we have entered the 5th week. Mahsa Amini was detained by the country’s morality police because of her dress.

Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi will compete at the Asian Championships in South Korea.

In more than 100 cities, demonstrations pulling school-aged children, oil workers and others to the streets are the deadliest protests against Iran’s theocracy since mass protests over the controversial 2009 presidential election. represents a serious challenge.

An Instagram post later posted on Rekavi’s account explained that it was “unintentional” for her not to be wearing a hijab, but whether she wrote the post or not at the time It was not immediately clear what the situation was. is often

The Iranian embassy in South Korea said Rekhabi left Seoul on a Tuesday morning flight. The BBC’s Persian-language service, which has extensive contacts inside Iran despite being banned from working there, said Iranian officials seized both Rekabi’s mobile phone and passport. citing an anonymous “source”.

BBC Persian also said her flight, originally scheduled to return on Wednesday, appeared to have been unexpectedly brought forward.

Another Iran-focused website, IranWire, founded by Majal Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist once detained in Iran, reported that Rekabi was immediately sent to Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison after his arrival in Iran. Claimed to be transferred. Evin Prison caught fire this weekend, killing at least eight of his inmates.

In a tweet, the Iranian embassy in Seoul denied “all fakes, false news and disinformation” about Rekavi’s departure on Tuesday. But instead of posting a photo from the Seoul Games, she posted an image of her wearing a headscarf at her previous competition in Moscow, where she won the bronze medal.

Calls to the Iranian embassy in Seoul on Tuesday went unanswered. Rekavi did not wear a hijab during Sunday’s final at the International Sport Climbing Federation’s Asian Championships, according to the event’s organizer, the Seoul-based Korean Alpine Federation. A one-week climbing event. When she competed on Sunday, she wore nothing but a black headband, her black hair was tied up in a ponytail, and she wore a white jersey with the Iranian flag as its logo. rice field.

A later Instagram post, written in first person, offered an apology on Rekavi’s behalf. I tried to explain that her trip was “as planned”.

According to the federation, Rekhabi was part of Iran’s 11-man delegation of eight players and three coaches. Federation officials said they were initially unaware that Rekavi was competing without a hijab, but that she had received inquiries about her and investigated.

They said there are no rules at the event requiring female athletes to wear or not wear headscarves.However, Iranian women who compete abroad under the Iranian flag always wear hijabs. doing.

The International Sport Climbing Federation, which oversaw the event, said in a statement, “We are aware of her return to Iran and will continue to monitor the situation as it develops upon her arrival.” It is important to emphasize that the safety of our athletes is a top priority for us and we support all efforts to keep our valued members of our community safe during this situation.”

The federation said it was in contact with both Rekavi and Iranian officials, but declined to elaborate on the content of those calls when contacted by the Associated Press.

The federation also declined to discuss an Instagram post attributed to Rekavi and the claims therein. The 33-year-old Rekavi has been on the podium three times at the Asian Championships, winning one silver and two bronze medals.

So far, human rights groups estimate that more than 200 people have died in the protests and subsequent violent security force crackdown. Iran has not released a death toll in weeks. Demonstrations were seen in more than 100 cities, according to a group of Iranian human rights activists. Thousands are believed to have been arrested.

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Iranian Climber Arrested, Faces Possible Jail for Hijab-less Competition –

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