Iranian chess player Sara Khadem who competed without hijab granted Spanish nationality

An Iranian chess player, who competed in an international tournament without wearing a hijab, has been granted Spanish nationality, Spain’s Minister of Justice announced on Tuesday.

Sara Khadem, also known as Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, competed in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in December 2022.

She was photographed not wearing a hijab, despite the fact that this is mandatory in Iran, leading to an arrest warrant being issued against her in her home country, according to Reuters, who interviewed Khadem in February.

She has been living in Spain ever since.

Khadem was one of a number of sportswomen to appear at a sporting event without a hijab since anti-government protests erupted in September last year, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

The 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman died in mid-September after being detained by the country’s morality police for not abiding by the country’s conservative dress code, sparking outrage around a range of grievances with the regime.

Spain’s Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop, said that there were “exceptional circumstances” in Khadem’s situation, announcing that the country’s Council of Ministers granted her “Spanish nationality through a naturalization letter.”

The chess player met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in January, who said that he was “inspired” by Khadem.

“How much I have learned today from a woman who inspires me, the Women’s Chess Grandmaster Sara Khadem,” Sánchez tweeted. “All my support to women athletes. Your example contributes to a better world.”

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