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Iranian Official Says Sport Climber Who Competed Without Headscarf Won’t Be Punished

Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi competes during the women's Boulder Lead final during the IFSC Climbing Asian Championships in Seoul, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Rhea Khang/International Federation of Sport Climbing via AP)
Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi competes during the women’s Boulder Lead final during the IFSC Climbing Asian Championships in Seoul, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Rhea Khang/International Federation of Sport Climbing via AP)

The president of Iran’s national Olympic committee claimed Thursday that an Iranian competitive climber who had participated in an event without wearing her country’s mandatory headscarf will not be penalized. 

Speaking to The Associated Press in the South Korean capital of Seoul, Mahmoud Khosravi Vafa said there was no reason to take disciplinary measures against 33-year-old competitive climber Elnaz Rekabi, because not wearing a headscarf, or hijab, was an “unintentional” act on her part.

“It’s a small issue. I’m surprised that it is being talked about so much,” Vafa said. “In our view, it was not a big issue.”

Rekabi returned to Tehran on Wednesday morning after competing at the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asia Championship in South Korea without wearing a hijab, which is required of female athletes from the Islamic Republic.

“Quite typical of the regime in Iran to not be transparent about punishments, particularly when one is charged with disrespecting the Islamic Republic,” Lisa Daftari, editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, told Fox News Digital. “In this case, on the one hand, you have the regime saying there will be no punishment, but then they have allegedly arrested her brother. We see this quite often when the regime either goes after forced confessions or targets family members in order to make a point and to discourage others from disrespecting the regime.”

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