Iran chess player to 'move to Spain' after competing without a headscarf

Iran chess player to 'move to Spain' after competing without a headscarf
Sara Khadem, a 25-year-old Iranian chess player, will reportedly move to Spain after competing in an international competition without wearing a headscarf.
2 min read
30 December, 2022
Khadem participated in a chess tournament in Kazakhstan without her hijab [Getty/file photo]

One of Iran’s top chess players is looking to move to Spain, according to The Guardian, after photographs emerged of her participating in an international tournament without a headscarf

Twenty-five-year-old Sara Khadem, also known as Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, participated in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Kazakhastan earlier this week. 

Khadem, ranked at 10th in Iran and 804th in the world, appeared at the event without wearing the mandatory headscarf, in an apparent show of support for anti-government protests in her country. 

Iran decrees that women athletes must wear the mandatory headscarf when participating in competitions around the world.

Khadem did not plan to return to Iran after the tournament out of fear of reprisals, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.

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Instead, Khadem, her husband – famous film director Ardeshir Ahmadi – and their young child will move to their apartment in an unnamed Spanish city, El Pais reported, citing two sources.

Iran’s protests have been going on for the past four months, ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman who was allegedly killed by the country’s notorious morality police for wearing her headscarf ‘improperly’. 

Since then, many women have either taken off their hijab or cut their hair as a sign of protest against the regime.

Several sportspeople are suspected to have been punished for speaking out in support of the protests. Climber Elnaz Rekabi, who competed in an international tournament without a hijab, reportedly had her house demolished by the authorities. The family of Iranian football legend Ali Daei, who had backed the demonstrations, were forced off a plane to Dubai earlier this week.