Iran’s Elnaz Rekabi, who competed without hijab, in Tehran

Iranian competitive climber Elnaz Rekabi received a hero’s welcome on her return to Tehran early Wednesday, after competing in South Korea with out sporting a obligatory scarf required of girl athletes from the Islamic Republic.

Rekabi’s selection now not to wear the hijab while competing Sunday came as protests sparked by using the Sept. Sixteen demise in custody of a 22-year-old girl have entered a 5th week. Mahsa Amini was detained by way of the us of a’s morality police over her apparel — and her demise has seen women doing away with their mandatory hijabs in public.

The demonstrations, drawing faculty-age children, oil employees and others to the road in over a hundred towns, constitute the most-critical venture to Iran’s theocracy for the reason that mass protests surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election.Rekabi on Wednesday repeated an explanation published earlier to an Instagram account in her name that described her now not sporting a hijab as “accidental.” The Iranian government robotically pressures activists at home and abroad, frequently airing what rights institution describe as coerced confessions on state tv — the equal cameras she addressed on her arrival returned domestic.Video shared on-line showed massive crowds accumulated early Wednesday at Imam Khomeini International Airport out of doors of Tehran, the sanctioned nation’s major gateway in a foreign country. The movies, corresponding to recognised capabilities of the airport, showed crowds chanting the 33-12 months-antique Rekabi’s call and calling her a hero.

She walked into one of the airport’s terminals, filmed with the aid of state media and carrying a black baseball cap and a black hoodie masking her hair. She received vegetation from an onlooker, and then repeated what have been published on Instagram that no longer sporting the hijab was “unintentional” and her travel have been as formerly planned.

Rekabi defined being in a girls’s only ready place previous to her climb.

“Because I changed into busy placing on my shoes and my equipment, it induced me to forget to place on my hijab after which I went to compete,” she said.

She added: “I came again to Iran with peace of mind even though I had a lot of anxiety and strain. But to date, thank God, not anything has occurred.”Outside, she apparently entered a van and slowly become pushed through the collected crowd, who cheered her. It wasn’t clean wherein she went after that.

Rekabi left Seoul on a Tuesday morning flight. The BBC’s Persian carrier, which has sizable contacts within Iran despite being banned from operating there, quoted an unnamed “knowledgeable supply” who described Iranian officials as seizing both Rekabi’s mobile cellphone and passport.

BBC Persian also said she initially had been scheduled to go back on Wednesday, however her flight seemingly were moved up abruptly.

IranWire, some other website focusing at the u . S . Founded via Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari who once was detained through Iran, alleged that Rekabi could be straight away transferred to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison after arriving within the country. Evin Prison changed into the website online of a massive fire this beyond weekend that killed at the least 8 prisoners.In a tweet, the Iranian Embassy in Seoul denied “all the faux, fake information and disinformation” regarding Rekabi’s departure. But in place of posting a photograph of her from the Seoul opposition, it published an photograph of her carrying a headband at a previous opposition in Moscow, in which she took a bronze medal.

Rekabi didn’t put on a hijab all through Sunday’s final at the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asia Championship.

Rekabi wore a hijab all through her preliminary appearances at the one-week climbing occasion. She wore just a black headscarf while competing Sunday, her darkish hair pulled lower back in a ponytail; she had a white jersey with Iran’s flag as a emblem on it.

Footage of the opposition showed Rekabi relaxed as she approached the hiking and after she competed.

Iranian girls competing overseas underneath the Iranian flag usually put on the hijab.

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