Elnaz forced to abjure and take a photo with the minister. “Without a veil by mistake”

Elnaz forced to abjure and take a photo with the minister. “Without a veil by mistake”

Updated: 3 months, 19 days, 13 hours, 21 minutes, 39 seconds ago

A baseball cap, a hoodie and a sports veil covering her hair. This is how Elnaz Rekabi, the Iranian climber in the sights of the regime, showed herself for having participated without the hijab in a race at the Asian Championships on Sunday. Her act of rebellion has raised a case and she has also feared for her safety. Yesterday morning Elnaz arrived at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. She received flowers and was welcomed like a star by a large number of people. She repeated that not wearing the hijab was an “unintentional” choice, as she had already explained on Instagram.

There had been no news about her, but upon her arrival at the airport she explained her version of the story to Iranian TV: “I was unexpectedly called to compete while I was in the women’s locker room, I was busy putting on my shoes, and this made me forget to wear the veil. The gesture was completely involuntary ». The crowd that gathered at the airport cheered her by chanting her name and calling her “heroine.” “I returned to Iran in full health and I apologize to the Iranian people for the turmoil and worries I have created,” she concluded. Her family also met her there and immediately embraced her. Elnaz said there were “some extreme reactions” to the video showing her in a ponytail and that she was feeling “stressed and tense.” She also denied reports that she had no contact with her family and friends of hers and that she had left South Korea earlier than expected. “It didn’t happen. We returned to Iran exactly as planned, ”she replied.

However, many are skeptical and believe that the statement was issued under duress, also due to the arrest of his brother who was arrested precisely for the purpose of threatening. In fact, a photo on his return portrays Elnaz with the sports minister Hamid Sajjadi. The Iranian embassy also intervened and denied what it called “all false news, lies” about her. For weeks, Iran has been crisscrossed by protests against hijab laws and its religious leaders. Iranian women are required to cover their hair with a veil and their arms and legs with loose clothing. Female athletes must also abide by the rules when representing Iran in competitions abroad. Elnaz was quickly seen as a new symbol of women’s-led anti-government protests after the video of her without the veil went viral.

The struggle between the people and the regime is also ongoing on social media and media. Supreme leader Ali Khamenei got caught during a meeting in Tehran with academic elites. “Universities are the pillar of the nation’s progress,” he began, but “one of the biggest obstacles lies in the domination of the arrogant powers.” A clear reference to the United States. Now, however, not only teenagers and students, but also elderly women and observers of Islam, are joining the broad protest that has been challenging repression for a month in Iran. Gohar Eshghi, mother of blogger Sattar Beheshti, who was killed in prison in 2012 after being arrested, was filmed sitting on the carpet in the living room of her home and with a photo of her boyfriend who died ten years ago she slips the veil and discovers the long gray hair. The video quickly went viral and represents an unprecedented episode for Iran. «After 80 years», explained the woman in the video, «I remove my hijab because you kill in the name of religion. Don’t be cowards, get out on the street ».