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Worry Grows for Iran Athlete Who Competed Without Her Hijab

A woman watches Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi compete in an international climbing competition is Seoul.

A woman watches Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi compete in an international climbing competition is Seoul.

Source: AFP/Getty Images

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Seoul, South Korea (AP) -- An Iranian competitive climber left South Korea on Tuesday after competing at an event in which she climbed without her nation's mandatory headscarf covering, authorities said. Farsi-language media outside of Iran warned she may have been forced to leave early by Iranian officials and could face arrest back home, which Tehran quickly denied.

The decision by Elnaz Rekabi, a multiple medalist in competitions, to forgo the headscarf, or hijab, came 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.