After the tournament in Almaty, she flew to Spain and she remains there with her husband and son.
She told the Telegraph: “I wasn’t going to do that [film the apology video].
“I hope that I will be the only one held responsible for what I did,” she said.
“We feel very welcome in Spain but we have left some of the most important things in life in Iran, so there are mixed feelings.”
After the picture of Ms Khadem playing without her hijab was seen around the world she became a symbol of Iran’s protest movement, which began in September after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini. Ms Amini was arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress rules for women.
Ms Khadem says she previously only wore the hijab at international tournaments during moments of formal presentations and for the official photograph.
But she began to feel that this was “hypocrisy”.
She said: “This time I felt that if I did as I was doing before, I would be disrespecting the people.”
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After the picture of Ms Khadem playing without her hijab was seen around the world she became a symbol of Iran’s protest movement,
Not wearing the head covering at the Fide World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Almaty was not the first time she had been in trouble with Iranian authorities.
Back in 2019 she spoke up in support of young Iranian chess star Alireza Firouzja after he refused to accept Tehran’s policy that its players must forfeit matches against Israeli opponents.
And in January 2020 she announced she was resigning from the national chess team in protest at Iran’s shooting down of a Ukrainian commercial airplane, killing all 176 people on board.
Then last year after the death of Ms Amini she posted hashtags on social media in solidarity with demonstrators.
Ms Khadem is Iran’s top female chess player and the world’s 17th and began playing chess at eight years old because her mother thought it could help to focus her mind and stop her daydreaming.
She won her first world championship medal when she was 11 years old, in the under-12 category.
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And she became the first Iranian woman to reach the level of international master.
Despite living thousands of miles away from her homeland, she still wants to represent Iran as an individual player at tournaments.
She also hopes to move up the rankings from her current position of 17 and break into the world’s top 10.
Ms Khadem added: “I’m a chess player. I’m not a political figure.
“As a chess player I have some responsibilities towards what is happening around me, but chess is the first thing in my life. I don’t see myself as an activist.”
Original News : https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1727059/Iranian-regime-Sara-Khadem-hijab-protest-chess-exile-in-Spain
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