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Iranian chess players compete without hijab

Two Iranian women chess players competed in an international tournament with no hijab.

Sara Khadem and Atousa pourkashiyan are participating in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships, Almaty, Kazakhstan. They have followed the lead of other Iranian athletes by removing their headscarves.

Photos published by the International Chess Federation’s Flickr account show them with their hair out and in deep concentration while they focus on a particular game.

Both women did not comment on their Instagram pages.

Image: Atousa Pourkashiyan. Pic by Lennart Otte/FIDE

Protests against Iran’s government have been focused on the hijab, which Iran’s Islamic dress code requires.

Unrest erupted following the death of Mahsa (22), who was taken into custody by Iran’s morality officers for not properly wearing her hijab.

Sky News was told by Erfan Mortezaei that Ms Amini’s cousin had “tortured, insulted” just before her death.

Protests have seen prominent participation from women, who removed and sometimes burned their headscarves.

Elnaz Rekabi, an Iranian climber, competed in South Korea in October without a headscarf. She later admitted that she did so accidentally.

An Iranian archer claimed that she didn’t notice her hijab fall during an awards ceremony in Tehran in November.

In what was widely understood as support for protesters, a video showed her allowing the headscarf down.

Image: Sara Khadem. Pic: Lennart Ottotes/FIDE

Ehsan Hajsafi, Iran’s defender, spoke out in support of home-based anti-government protesters.

“They should know we are there for them. We support them. We sympathize with them about the conditions,” said the AEK Athens player.

“We must accept that the circumstances in our country are not right, and that our people are unhappy. While we are present, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be their voice or respect them.

The national anthem was not sung by the team before their first game but it was before the second and third.

An earlier month, Iran’s attorney General stated that the morality police was “closed”.


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