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Iranian chess player who removed hijab gets Spanish citizenship



FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships - Rapid Women - Almaty, Kazakhstan - December 28, 2022. Sara Khadem of Iran plays against Olga Girya of Russia. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev/File Photo

An Iranian chess player who moved to Spain in January after she competed without a hijab and had an arrest warrant issued against her at home has been granted Spanish citizenship, Spain said on Wednesday.

Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, better known as Sara Khadem, took part in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships held in Kazakhstan in late December without the headscarf that is mandatory under Iran’s strict Islamic dress codes.

Laws enforcing mandatory hijab-wearing became a flashpoint during the unrest that swept Iran when a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, died in the custody of the morality police in mid-September.

The 26-year-old has told Reuters she had no regrets over her gesture in support of the protest movement against her country’s clerical leadership.

Spain’s official gazette said the cabinet approved granting Khadem citizenship on Tuesday “taking into account the special circumstances” of her case.





Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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