Dozens of people welcomed Iranian sportswoman Elnaz Rekabi back to Tehran on Wednesday morning after participating without a veil in the Asian Climbing Championships in South Korea while the Islamic Republic imposes on Iranian sportswomen the wearing of the veil even in the overseas competitions. Her participation in the competition without a veil in a shirt in the colors of Iran, wearing only a bandana, had been interpreted as a gesture of solidarity with the demonstrations sparked a month ago by the death of the young Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini after his arrest by the vice police.
Dozens of people gathered outside the airport terminal to greet Elnaz Rekabi, 33, with applause and cheers, according to a video uploaded by the reformist daily Shargh. They then surrounded a white van and a car where the athlete and members of her team would have taken place. Dressed in a black hooded jacket and a baseball cap, Elnaz Rekabi was welcomed into the terminal by her relatives, before speaking to the media.
“ Due to the climate during the finals of the competition and the fact that I was called to start when I was not expecting it, I found myself entangled in my technical equipment. […]. Because of that, I didn’t pay attention to what scarf I should have worn, she said. I returned to Iran in peace, in perfect health and according to the planned program. I apologize to the Iranian people for the tensions created “, she said, adding that she did not have” the intention to say goodbye to the national team “.