IranWire reported that a female Iranian athlete, Elnaz Rekabi, who did not wear a hijab during an international competition, will be transferred directly to Evin prison from the airport. Sunday, Rekabi entered the final Asian climbing competition in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, without a hijab.
Reza Zarei, the head of the Iranian Climbing Federation, assured Elnaz that if she gave him her passport and phone, he would quickly, safely, and secretly transport her to Iran. Mohammad Khosravivafa, the head of the Iranian Olympic Committee, gave orders to Zarei. Khosravivafa reports to The Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran (IRGC).
“Elnaz made her decision to appear without a hijab around a month ago and knew that she was going to compete without the mandatory hijab,” a source told IranWire. “She did not seek asylum because her husband is in Iran and wanted to return after the competition. She always makes such bold decisions.”
“The team was supposed to get back to Iran, but suddenly they changed her plans,” the source claimed.
According to IranWire sources at Imam Khomeini International Airport, Rekabi will be transferred directly to Evin Prison from the airport. Rekabi would be unable to escape if she surrendered to the embassy of the Islamic Republic, according to a source: “We know what the embassies of the Islamic Republic do. They will take her to the airport and return her to Iran.”
The early return of Rekabi prevents people from congregating at the airport: “People think that Elnaz will return with the team on Wednesday, but she is supposed to be returned to Iran a day earlier. We hope she can rescue herself at Seoul airport.”
Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iranian women have been required to wear the hijab. They must also abide by the mandatory rule when representing the country abroad. Rekabi is representing Iran. Hijabs must also be worn by Iranian women who compete in sports.
On her way back to Tehran on Tuesday, Rekabi posted on Instagram that her hijab had fallen off by accident and that her appearance without a hijab was unintentional.
Rekabi was the first woman from Iran to win a medal at the sport climbing world championships in 2017. She placed fourth at the competition in South Korea last weekend. A social media video of her participating in climbing without a hijab went viral.
People in Iran have been protesting against the hijab for the past month. The protests followed the death of a young woman who was allegedly not wearing a hijab.