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Iranian Chess Player Was Warned Not To Return To Iran After Competing Without Hijab - Source

PARIS, France - An Iranian chess player arrived in Spain on Tuesday after receiving what a source close to her said were warnings not to return to Iran for competing without a hijab at an international tournament in Kazakhstan.

Sara Khadem, born in 1997, took part in last week's FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Almaty without the hijab - a headscarf mandatory under Iran's strict dress codes.

The source, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said Khadem subsequently received multiple phone calls in which individuals warned her against returning home after the tournament, while others said she should come back, promising to ''solve her problem''.

The source also said Khadem's relatives and parents, who are in Iran, had also received threats, without giving further details.

Iran's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.

Khadem, who is also known as Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, arrived in Spain on Tuesday, the source said.

The phone calls led to organisers deciding to provide with the cooperation of Kazakh police, resulting in four bodyguards being stationed outside Khadem's hotel room, the source said.

Iran has been swept by demonstrations against the country's clerical leadership since mid-September, when 22 - year - old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died in the custody of morality police who detained her for ''inappropriate attire''.

Laws enforcing mandatory hijab wearing have become a flashpoint during the unrest, with a string of sportswomen competing overseas appearing without their headscarves in public.

Kadem is ranked 804 in the world, according to the International Chess Federation website. The website for Dec. 25-30 event listed her as a participant in both the Rapid and Blitz competitions.



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