Iran Protests and Climbing in Iran

A talk with climbers from Iran

Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi climbing at the Olympic Qualifying event in Toulouse 2019. Picture by Vladek Zumr

Since the 16th of September 2022, the streets in many cities of Iran are full of people, protesting against their regime, because a woman was killed for not wearing her Hijab properly. A climber from Iran brought these revolutionary protests closer to many of us: Elnaz Rekabi.

At the Asian Continental Championships she climbed without a Hijab. Something like that has not happened in 43 years: A female climber from Iran shows herself at an international competition without the Hijab. 43 years ago, the current leaders of Iran took over the power and established a regime that forces strict religious rules upon anyone in the country. Rules, that say, that a man and a woman can’t climb together, for example. Breaking these rules can have severe consequences for people in Iran. They could be beaten up, imprisoned, tortured, raped or killed. All of this has not started in the last weeks, it has been going on for years.

I reached out to some climbers from Iran, who now live outside of Iran and we talked for this episode. I thank them all for speaking and giving us insights to understand their situation!

Thank you to Düzen Tekkal for helping me with some questions and for her amazing work to report about Iran! – Please sign the Iran-Petition of her organization Hawar!

Thank you also to Liam Lonsdale, for giving ideas and connections that helped me prepare this episode!

And thank you to climbing photographer Vladek Zumr for letting me use his pictures of Elnaz Rekabi!

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