Iran protests: No punishment for climber, Olympic chief says

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SEOUL, South Korea –


The president of Iran’s nationwide Olympic committee claimed Thursday that aggressive climber Elnaz Rekabi won’t be punished or suspended after competing in South Korea over the weekend with out carrying her nation’s obligatory headband.


Supporters of Rekabi, nonetheless, stay anxious for the 33-year-old climber as different athletes have been focused by the federal government for supporting the weekslong protests rocking Iran. Activists say safety forces have already got killed over 200 individuals and arrested 1000’s in an ongoing crackdown on dissent.


Speaking to The Associated Press within the South Korean capital of Seoul, Mahmoud Khosravi Vafa stated there was no purpose to take disciplinary measures towards Rekabi as a result of not carrying a scarf, or hijab, was an “unintentional” act on her half.


An Instagram account related to Rekabi additionally described the choice as “unintentional,” and he or she did as effectively after reaching Tehran early Wednesday. She blamed being rushed to compete, although a video of her climb Sunday confirmed her relaxed and waving to the group.


“It’s a small problem. I’m stunned that it’s being talked about a lot,” Khosravi Vafa stated, regardless of protests over the obligatory hijab reaching over 100 cities in Iran up to now. “In our view it was not an enormous problem.”


Khosravi Vafa stated he mentioned Rekabi with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in Seoul. Khosravi Vafa stated he spoke to Rekabi as effectively.


“I talked to her and advised her that you simply undoubtedly are very proficient in sports activities and you need to proceed down this path to perhaps qualify for the Paris Olympics and you will be totally supported by the Iranian Olympic committee,” he added in remarks made in Farsi.


The International Olympic Committee described Rekabi on Wednesday as having “returned to Iran safely and together with her household.”


Khosravi Vafa, nonetheless, described Rekabi as being “a visitor at Iran’s Olympic committee lodge for in the future, alongside together with her household.” It wasn’t clear if Rekabi had a selection over the keep. A later picture printed by Iranian state media confirmed her in a gathering hours after returning to Tehran in the identical black baseball cap and hoodie she wore after her flights.


Khosravi Vafa stated Rekabi would return to her hometown Thursday.


Rekabi’s resolution to not put on the hijab was seized upon by demonstrators who’ve protested for weeks within the Islamic Republic. Hundreds of individuals gathered outdoors Imam Khomeini International Airport for her arrival and cheered a lady they known as “Elnaz the Champion” and noticed as an inspiration for their continued protests.


When requested whether or not he mentioned the difficulty with Iranian delegates, Robin Mitchell, a Fijian sports activities official who was elected the brand new president of the Association of National Olympic Committees on the meeting on Thursday, stated that they had not spoken and indicated he wasn’t conscious the Iranians have been on the conferences.


Khosravi Vafa did not particularly tackle suspicions that Iranian authorities confiscated Rekabi’s passport after the occasion in Seoul and compelled her to depart early.


Iran has been swept by nationwide protests for the reason that Sept. 16 dying of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the nation’s morality police over her clothes.


The demonstrations, which have prompted girls to take away their hijabs in public, have drawn school-age youngsters, oil staff and others to the streets and characterize probably the most critical problem to Iran’s theocracy for the reason that mass protests surrounding its disputed 2009 presidential election.

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