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Elnaz Rekabi: Fans cheer and applaud as climber returns to Iran

Elnaz Rekabi: Fans cheer and applaud as climber returns to Iran
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DUBAI, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi, who caused controversy by competing in an international competition without a headscarf, has returned to Iran to cheer on her fans, reiterating in comments to state media that she had unintentionally climbed without a hijab.

The footage showed Rekabi, 33, scaling a wall without a head covering while representing Iran in a competition in South Korea, at a time of unprecedented protests in Iran over the death in custody of a young woman detained by police. moral for “improper dress”. ” “

In comments to state television upon his arrival in Tehran, Rekabi said he had returned “in full health” and apologized to “the people of Iran for the turbulence and concern I created”, his head covered by a baseball cap. and a hood. She talked.

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“The struggle I had to wear my shoes and get my gear ready made me forget the proper hijab I should have had, I went to the wall and moved up,” he added.

A crowd of supporters cheered, clapped and recorded the scene with mobile phones as he drove away from the airport, according to footage posted on Twitter.

In a statement posted to her Instagram account on Tuesday, Rekabi cited a lack of scheduling as the reason she had competed without a headscarf and said she had been called up to climb unexpectedly.

In his televised comments, Rekabi, who placed fourth in the competition, denied being out of touch for 48 hours and said the team had returned to Iran as planned. She said that she had no plans to leave the national team.

BBC Persian had reported on Tuesday that her friends had been unable to contact her and there were fears for her safety. Iran’s embassy in South Korea, on Twitter, denied reports of her disappearance after the competition.

The International Olympic Committee said it had spoken with the athlete and received assurances from Iran’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) that she would not face consequences.

“A joint meeting between the IOC, the IFSC (international climbing federation) and the Iranian NOC took place today, during which the IOC and IFSC received clear assurances that Ms. Rekabi will not suffer any consequences and will continue to train and compete. “. an IOC spokesman said.

Another joint meeting between the groups and Rekabi was then held, the spokesman said, adding that the IOC will closely monitor the situation in the coming days and weeks.

The death last month of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the Islamic Republic’s morality police, who arrested her for “inappropriate dress”, sparked protests across the country during which women removed and burned their scarves in the head.

The protests sparked by Amini’s death have become one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution, though the unrest does not appear to be close to toppling the system.

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Information from Dubai Newsroom; Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann, Editing by William Maclean and Frank Jack Daniel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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