Concerns about the athlete are growing: Iranian woman did not wear a headscarf at the competition - now Elnaz Rekabi has disappeared from Seoul without a trace

After her performance without a headscarf at the Asian Climbing Championships in Seoul, concerns are growing that athlete Elnaz Rekabi will feel the full harshness of the mullah regime in her home country.

Concerns about the athlete are growing: Iranian woman did not wear a headscarf at the competition - now Elnaz Rekabi has disappeared from Seoul without a trace

After her performance without a headscarf at the Asian Climbing Championships in Seoul, concerns are growing that athlete Elnaz Rekabi will feel the full harshness of the mullah regime in her home country.

The Iranian embassy in the South Korean capital said Rekabi had left the country for Iran. But that is apparently not even half the truth of the rulers in Tehran.

According to the BBC's Persian service, the 33-year-old returned one day earlier than originally planned - the circumstances of the early departure are unclear. The exile news portal "IranWire" reported that Rekabi was first taken to the country's embassy by the chairman of the Iranian Olympic Committee - on orders from the Revolutionary Guards. In addition, the athlete's mobile phone and passport were confiscated by the Iranian authorities. South Korean authorities did not provide the US news agency AP with any information about Rekabi's alleged departure and referred to data protection regulations.

According to "IranWire", the climber should be immediately transferred to Tehran's notorious Evin prison after her arrival in Iran. It has repeatedly been the scene of serious human rights violations. The BBC also reported concerns that the athlete would be jailed. However, there is no confirmation so far.

In the Twitter post, the mullah regime spoke of "false news and disinformation regarding Ms. Elnaz Rekabi" - but has proven in the past that its statements on such issues are not always credible.

A message appeared on the athlete's Instagram profile on Tuesday morning. She apologizes that people were worried about her. "During the final of the Asian Cup, I was unexpectedly called to the wall," she explained of the missing headgear in her post. She is currently on her way back to Iran with her team. Here, too, given the content and the circumstances, there are considerable doubts that the 33-year-old wrote this post herself.

Rekabi's appearance without a headscarf at the Asian Cup is seen as a signal to protesters in Iran in connection with the headscarf requirement in the country. The protests were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. Since then, the country has experienced serious unrest. The young woman was arrested by the moral police last month because her headscarf had slipped slightly and a few strands of hair were visible. Getting independent information from the country has been difficult since the protests broke out.

Sources: BBC, AP, "IranWire", Iranian Embassy in Seoul on Twitter, Elnaz Rekabi on Instagram, DPA News Agency

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