Iran’s Elnaz Rekabi, who competed without hijab, in Tehran

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Iran’s Elnaz Rekabi, who competed without hijab, in Tehran

DUBAI – Iranian competitive climber Elna Rekabi received a hero’s welcome on her return to Tehran early Wednesday, after competing in South Korea without wearing a mandatory headscarf required of female athletes from the Islamic Republic.

Rekabi’s decision not to wear the hijab while competing Sunday comes as protests sparked by the Sept. 16 death in custody of a 22-year-old woman have entered a fifth week. Mahsa Amini was detained by the country’s morality police over her clothing — and her death has sparked women removing their mandatory hijabs in public.

Supporters and Farsi-language media outside of Iran have worried about Rekabi’s safety after she choose to compete without the hijab.

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