Not To Return To Iran : After Competing Without A Hijab, An Iranian Chess Player Was Cautioned Not To Return To Iran

Sara Khadem Made News Last Week When He Participated In A Tournament Without Wearing A Hijab.

After competing at the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, last week without wearing a hijab, Iranian chess player Sara Khadem was “warned not to return to Iran,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

The 25-year-old player Sara Khadeem left Iran on Tuesday for Spain after allegedly receiving warnings not to go back there for participating without a hijab, which is required according to Iran’s stringent dress standards.

Without providing more information, the insider added that  Sara Khadem’s parents and relatives in Iran had also received threats.

Chess - FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships - Rapid Women - Almaty, Kazakhstan - December 28, 2022. Sara Khadem of Iran sits in front of a chess board. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

Due to the sensitivity of the situation, the source said  Sara Khadem afterwards received multiple phone calls in which some people advised her against going home after the competition, according to SMH.

4 bodyguards were posted outside  Sara Khadem’s hotel room as a result of the decision to provide protection made by the organisers and Kazakh police after the phone calls, the person claimed.

However, when contacted for comment on the matter, the Iranian Foreign Ministry remained silent

Sara Khadem is the most recent athlete to take the field without a hijab since the commencement of the anti-government demonstrations in September.

However, when contacted for comment on the matter, the Iranian Foreign Ministry remained silent

The chess player was born in 1997 and is now ranked 10th in Iran among active players globally, according to the International Chess Federation.


According to SMH, women have taken a leading role in the protests, taking off and in some cases burning their headscarves, while the demonstrators have found encouragement in what they perceive as gestures of solidarity from both male and female Iranian athletes.

After Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested by the police, she passed away, which led to protests in Iran.

Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi had participated in South Korea without donning the obligatory hijab, subsequently saying that it had accidently fallen off. However, it’s unclear if Rekabi was forced to say what she did.

Sara Khadem, Have You Moved To Spain?

Last week, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that Sara Khadem had intended to relocate to Spain with her family, including her husband and young kid, out of fear of retaliation.

However, it is yet unknown whether the family has been granted residency in the nation or if they want to apply for asylum. Particularly noteworthy is the rumour that the couple owns a home in Spain.

FIDE in chess World Championships in Rapid and Blitz

Iran Protests Against The Hijab

Two Iranian adolescents are now facing the death penalty after being accused over their participation in the protests, which were started by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini and have continued into the new year.

According to Iran Human Rights, a human rights organisation based in Oslo, since the unrest started in September 2022, at least 100 people have been detained in Iran and are being held on death-row accusations.

Sara Khadem is currently in Spain.

One of Iran’s toughest crackdowns on women has resulted in the suffering of several women.

Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi received a similar threat in October of last year for taking part in the competition sans her hijab. But after she apologised and claimed that her hijab had unintentionally fallen off, she later travelled back to Tehran.

However, activists claim that she was compelled to make those remarks by Iranian officials.

In the same month, social media users posted videos of Parmida Ghasemi, an Iranian archer, whose headscarf had fallen off when she was receiving an award in Tehran. Later, Ghasemi said she was unaware her hijab had slipped.

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