IIranian authorities have prevented Elnas Rekabi from leaving the Islamic Republic. The climber, who became known last fall when she competed in the Asian Championships without a Hijab, wanted to travel to a training camp in Spain.
As the exiled opposition activist Masih Alinejad wrote on Twitter on Thursday evening, the authorities of the Islamic Republic confiscated Rekabi’s passport on Wednesday. On the same day, after its executive session, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) implicitly threatened Iran’s exclusion from the Olympics if the National Olympic Committee failed to fully comply with the Olympic Charter and lobby the “highest authorities” for concrete sanctions but apart again. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has neither observed the equality rules of sport nor allowed its athletes to compete against opponents from Israel.
No UK visa
In February, Elnas Rekabi was supposed to take part in an IOC-funded program and course run by the International Federation of Sport Climbers (IFSC) in Great Britain. At the time, the IFSC said Britain had not issued her a visa, meaning she could not take part in the program as intended by the association and IOC.
Rekabi’s participation in the program was seen by the IFSC and the International Olympic Committee as insurance for Rekabi’s well-being after she was summoned to the Ministry of Sports after returning to Iran after her competition in Seoul, saying she didn’t have her hijab in the rush of competition can find. Elnas Rekabi will remain a participant in the training program and will try to take part in the next course, the IFSC had announced when asked by the FAZ. She also wants to start at competitions in Europe.
After the Asian championships in October, exiled Iranian media reported that Rekabi was under house arrest. On request, the IOC said in January that it had been assured that Elnas Rekabi would not have to fear “any consequences” and that training and competitions would be able to continue.