Iranian climber forced to apologize for competing without headscarf: Report

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Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi who apologized for competing abroad without a headscarf was forced to do so, the BBC reported on Friday.

Rekabi, 33, returned to Tehran early Wednesday, after competing in South Korea without wearing the mandatory headscarf required by the Islamic Republic.

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She later said her headscarf had fallen off “inadvertently”, according to the BBC.

However, a source told BBC Persian that Rekabi apologized after authorities threatened to take her family’s property.

The incident happened amid protests that erupted across Iran after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, died in police custody after she was arrested for allegedly breaching Iran’s strict dress code for women.

The protests quickly escalated and turned political with demonstrations taking place country-wide. Protesters have been chanting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and calling for the downfall of the regime.

The demonstrations, drawing school-age children, oil workers and others to the street in over 100 cities, represent the most-serious challenge to Iran's theocracy since the mass protests surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election.

A large crowd greeted Rekabi at Tehran airport on Wednesday, hailing her as a “heroine.” She arrived at the airport without a headscarf, covering her hair with a black baseball cap and hoodie.

The next day she met the Iranian sports minister with the same clothes on, which raised suspicion that she did not go home after arriving.

The source told the BBC that Rekabi was detained in a room at Iran’s National Olympic Committee building with plainclothes agents present until she met the minister.

She is now under “house arrest” but the authorities say she is staying at home because she needs to rest, the source said.

(With agencies)

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