Iranian official claims chess player without headscarf ‘did not represent country’

Iranian chess player Sarasadat Kademalsharieh has competed at international competitions without a hijab, Reuters reported.

The head of Iran’s chess federation says Iranian chess player Sarasadat Khademalsharieh wasn’t representing the country when she competed at international competitions in Kazakhstan without a hijab.

Fars said that Hassan Tamini, the deputy sports minister, denied that Mortazavi had participated through the federation and at her own expense.

Khademalsharieh competed in the International Chess Federation World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Almaty.

According to the International Chess Federation website, she is ranked 804th in the world. The federation’s website features a picture of the woman grandmaster with her hair exposed, despite her wearing a dark blue headscarf.

The mass protests in Iran have been ongoing for three months since Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22, died in police custody. The police for morality arrested her for breaking the country’s dress code.

During international competitions, women playing for Iran must wear a headscarf and conform to the dress code. Iran blasted speed skater Niloufar Mardani after she competed in Turkey without a headscarf last month.

Elnaz Rekabi, an Iranian climber, was criticised in Iran. The Sports Ministry said that Mardani had taken part without permission, as reported by the Fars news agency. Elnaz Rekabi competed in October at the Asian Championships in Seoul wearing only a headband. Inexplicably, her headscarf fell off, she said, and she apologised for the incident. Iranian authorities demolished Rekabi’s family home two months later.

Many prominent female athletes and male footballers have expressed their support for the protests in a sensitive arena. A female chess official from Iran said she was frightened to return home after working without a headscarf at a women’s tournament in 2020.

Shohreh Bayat, 34, says has previously said that she will not return to Iran unless the country’s chess federation provides her with written security assurances.


Image Credit: Reuters