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Iran Athlete Gets Hero’s Welcome at Airport After Removing Hijab

  • Climber Elnaz Rekabi competed in Seoul without headscarf
  • Return to Tehran followed report that she’d gone missing
Elnaz Rekabi arrives at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, on Oct. 19.

Elnaz Rekabi arrives at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, on Oct. 19.

Source: IRNA/AP Photo

An Iranian climber was greeted by crowds of cheering supporters at a Tehran airport after she returned home from competing in a major international tournament without wearing a head scarf in contravention of the country’s Islamic laws.

Elnaz Rekabi officially represented the Islamic Republic without covering her hair -- something that’s been mandatory for all Iranian female athletes since 1979 -- at the Asian climbing championships in Seoul on Oct. 16.