Iran chess ref Shohreh Bayat fears returning home over hijab row
|bbc.com 15 Jan 2020 at 00:29|
But that achievement has been clouded by controversy after the circulation of a photograph taken at game in Shanghai that appears to show Ms Bayat without a headscarf, as her country mandates.
She now feels unsafe to return to Iran, where women can be arrested for violating strict Islamic dress code.
"I turned on my mobile and saw that my picture was everywhere [in Iranian media]. They were claiming I was not wearing a headscarf and that I wanted to protest against the hijab," Ms Bayat told the BBC.
She says she was, in fact, covering her head as she always has at international tournaments, despite disagreeing with the rule.
"It s against my beliefs. People should have the right to choose the way they want to dress, it should not be forced," she explained, speaking from Vladivostok in eastern Russia, where she is now refereeing the second leg of the World Championship.