ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iranian government has called for the arrest of a female boxer and her trainer after the woman participated in an international boxing competition in France.
Sadaf Khadem, who became Iran’s first woman to participate in an official boxing fight, canceled her return to Tehran after being informed of the news of the order, her representative said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Authorities in Iran also issued an arrest warrant for Mahyar Monshipour, a former Iranian world boxing champion who organized Khadem’s fight in France. Monshipour, a French citizen, also trained the 24-year-old.
Kadhem defeated her opponent Anne Chauvin in an amateur bout on Saturday in western France. She told local media in France that she believes the warrant was issued due to her violation of Iran’s dress code.
According to Iran’s Boxing Federation (IBF), Iranian women who compete in the sport must cover their hair, necks, arms, and legs. Khadem was not wearing the obligatory headscarf and was dressed in a vest and shorts.
“I was fighting in a legally approved match, in France. But as I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, which is completely normal in the eyes of the entire world, I confounded the rules of my country,” the Iranian boxer told L’Equipe newspaper.
“I wasn’t wearing a hijab, I was coached by a man—some people take a dim view of this.”
The IBF distanced itself from the issue in a statement on Monday, stating it had not organized any fights for women in France and was not responsible for individual competitors.
There was no immediate comment from France’s foreign ministry or the Iranian embassy in Paris.
The crackdown on the female athlete will come as no surprise to some. Females in Iran have experienced gender-related discrimination in sports for decades.
Since 1979, the ultra-conservative Iranian regime has even prevented females from attending male football matches.
In October 2018, Tehran said it would reimpose the ban on women attending live football matches prompting the sport’s world governing body, FIFA, to call on Iran to end the practice or face strict, and more explicit sanctions.
Editing by John J. Catherine