By Pooya Stone
Three females’ Iranian athletes have left the country since December 2019 with no intention to return, thanks to the misogynistic rule of the mullahs. They are Olympic athlete Kimia Alizadeh, chess referee Shohreh Bayat, and International Chess Master Sara-Sadat Khadem-o Shari’eh (Sara Khadem).
Iranian Member of Parliament Parvaneh Salahshouri tweeted that this should serve as a “serious warning” for the Iranian government and asked how long the mullahs would continue to “ignore” the Iranian people.
Alizadeh, a Taekwondo Belt who has won several world medals, including an Olympic Bronze, emigrated to the Netherlands in December, saying that the mullahs wanted her to win medals, but would not give her respect.
While Bayat, 32, announced during the Women’s World Chess Championship that she wouldn’t return to Iran. She had protested Iran’s mandatory veil policy during the tournament and refused to apologize for it.
She said: “I really hope they will provide me [with] something to ensure I will be safe if I come back to Iran.”
She posted on Instagram: “These are the most basic of human rights… Our lives will end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”
Khadem, who holds both the International Master and Woman Grandmaster titles, said on January 12 that she is no longer competing for Iran at international competitions, but stressed that she had not renounced her citizenship.
The world’s No. 13 chess player said of her emigration: “They don’t let me focus on my work in a quiet place. They don’t understand. They’ll never understand. Nobody has the right to make me stay or go.”
Chess grandmaster Mitra Hejazipour, who has not announced that she is leaving Iran, had expelled her from the National Chess Team on January 2, for removing her headscarf during the World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow.
While Iran’s first female international rugby referee Fatemeh Noori resigned due to “insults toward the opinions of others”.
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) wrote: “Iranian female athletes and competitors make such achievements… while they are deprived of the minimum support they should be receiving both legally and practically.
Despite overcoming all the obstacles, they face, and [winning] championships, they run into the wall of the misogyny of the mullahs’ religious dictatorship which makes it impossible for Iranian female athletes to continue their professional life in Iran. Ultimately, they prefer to leave their homeland rather than continuing their careers under the mullahs’ rule.”