DUBAI, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Another Iranian athlete, archer Parmida Ghasemi, has expressed support for anti-government protests gripping the country by removing her hijab during an awards ceremony in Tehran.
The gesture was carried on social media video posts that added fuel to unrest that erupted in September after the death of a Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini. She had been detained by morality police for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code imposed on women.
Leader of Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei said: keeping hijab is more important than winning medals for female athletes.
Parmida Ghassemi, a prolific athlete, removes her hijab in front of officials during the award ceremony.
Another humiliation for the Iranian regime.#MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/hTFfPTK2hI
— Masih Alinejad ?️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 11, 2022
The protests quickly turned into a popular revolt, with people ranging from students to doctors to lawyers to workers to athletes taking part.
The Basij militia and other security forces have cracked down hard on the unrest but protesters are sticking to their demand for an end to hardline Islamist rule under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In the video, Ghasemi, standing along with other athletes on a podium, lets her headscarf fall as unseen people in the audience clap and shout “Bravo”.
The athlete standing next to her tries to pull up her scarf, but she moves away her head.
She is not the first Iranian athlete to express solidarity with the demonstrations, which pose one of the biggest challenges to Iran‘s clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Video clips that purportedly show Iran‘s water polo team failing to sing the national anthem at a competition in Thailand have appeared on social media.
Iran‘s deputy sports minister, Maryam Kazemipour, said on Wednesday some Iranian female athletes have acted against Islamic norms and then apologized for their actions, the state news agency reported.
National beach soccer team players refused to sing Iran‘s anthem at the beginning of a match against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, according to an activist Twitter account known as 1500TASVIR.
Then the players did not cheer or celebrate after defeating Brazil to win the championship, the account said.
(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Angus MacSwan)