Iranian Female Rock Climber Under Fire For Not Wearing Hijab

John Simmons | October 19, 2022
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An female Iranian rock climber has been sent home after competing in the Asian Climbing Competitions in Seoul, South Korea after -- oh, the horror -- competing without a hijab.

Elnaz Rekabi, who is 33 and has been a competitor on the national team for 20 years, was removed promptly from the competition and sent home early after Iranian authorities discovered that she had clearly defied Iran’s national protocol for women’s fashion. She was ushered to the Iranian embassy in Seoul and was stripped of her phone and passport before being shipped back home.

Video has surfaced of Rekabi arriving back home being greeted by press and several women who appeared concerned for her well-being. One man promptly ushered her away after a brief conversation with those surrounding the rock climber.

It is unclear what fate awaits Rekabi, but her near future could indeed be grim. In recent weeks, Iran’s infamous “morality police” killed a woman named Mahsa Amini in custody after she was arrested for wearing her headscarf improperly, which has ignited protests from Iranian women around the world.

To add to the uneasy uncertainty, it appears that she was coerced into writing a statement by the Iranian government on her Instagram account that claimed her actions at the ACC had nothing to do with showing solidarity for the protests about Amini. The post reads:

Greetings to all respectful and honorable citizens of Iran.

I, Elnaz Rekabi with 20 years of membership in national team of climbing while apologizing for the concerns that I have caused, I must announce because of the existing sensitivities during the finale of the Asian Championship competition taken place in South Korea, because of the unsuitable timetable and unexpected call for me to climb the wall, unintentionally my cover became problematic.

Right now based on a prearranged timetable with the team, I am heading to Iran.

Except, there was nothing prearranged about her timetable to go home at all. In fact, once Iranian authorities found out about what happened, they moved up her flight a day to get her back home. So at least that element of the statement is false.

Details will obviously continue to emerge as the days and weeks progress. But until then, the future does not look promising for Rekabi.

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