SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — An Iranian feminine aggressive climber left South Korea on Tuesday after competing at an occasion by which she climbed with out her nation’s obligatory headband overlaying, authorities mentioned. Farsi-language media outdoors of Iran warned she could have been pressured to depart early by Iranian officers and will face arrest again dwelling, which Tehran rapidly denied.
The resolution by Elnaz Rekabi, a a number of medalist in competitions, to forgo the headband, or hijab, got here as protests sparked by the Sept. 16 demise in custody of a 22-year-old girl have entered a fifth week. Mahsa Amini was detained by the nation’s morality police over her clothes.
The demonstrations, drawing school-age kids, oil employees and others to the road, signify the most-serious problem to Iran’s theocracy for the reason that mass protests surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election.
Rekabi left Seoul on a Tuesday morning flight, the Iranian Embassy in South Korea mentioned. The BBC’s Persian service, which has in depth contacts inside Iran regardless of being banned from working there, quoted an unnamed “informed source” who described Iranian officers as seizing each Rekabi’s cell phone and passport.
BBC Persian additionally mentioned she initially had been scheduled to return on Wednesday, however her flight apparently had been moved up unexpectedly.
IranWire, one other web site specializing in the nation based by Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari who as soon as was detained by Iran, alleged that Rekabi can be instantly transferred to Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison after arriving within the nation. Evin Prison was the positioning of a large hearth this weekend that killed no less than eight prisoners.
In a tweet, the Iranian Embassy in Seoul denied “all the fake, false news and disinformation” relating to Rekabi’s departure on Tuesday. But as a substitute of posting a photograph of her from the Seoul competitors, it posted a picture of her carrying a headband at a earlier competitors in Moscow, the place she additionally took a bronze medal.
Calls to the Iranian Embassy in Seoul have been unanswered Tuesday.
Rekabi didn’t placed on a hijab throughout Sunday’s ultimate on the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asia Championship, in accordance with the Seoul-based Korea Alpine Federation, the organizers of the occasion.
Federation officers mentioned Rekabi wore a hijab throughout her preliminary appearances on the one-week climbing occasion. Rekabi was a member of Iran’s 11-member delegation, which includes of eight athletes and three coaches, to the occasion, in accordance with the federation.
Federation officers mentioned they weren’t initially conscious of Rekabi competing with out the hijab however regarded into the case after receiving inquires about her. They mentioned the occasion doesn’t have any guidelines on requiring feminine athletes carrying or not carrying headscarves. However, Iranian girls competing overseas beneath the Iranian flag at all times put on the hijab.
South Korea’s Justice Ministry refused to substantiate whether or not the Iranian athlete continues to be in South Korea or has left the nation, citing privacy-related rules. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry mentioned it has no feedback on the problem.
Rekabi, 33, has completed on the rostrum thrice within the Asian Championships, taking one silver and two bronze medals for her efforts.
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers John Marshall in Phoenix and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul contributed to this report.
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