Dorsa Derakshani, an 18-year-old chess grandmaster, has been banned from the Iranian national team for refusing to wear a hijab, which was made mandatory for women since 1979 when Shiite Islamist seized power.
She allegedly refused to wear the traditional Muslim headscarf recently during the 2017 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess festival. Her brother, Borna Derakshi was also banned for competing with an Israeli player.
The head of the notoriously anti-sematic nation’s federation, Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh has pledged to punish the duo in the “severest ways possible” claiming that flouting such rules put the nation’s interests at stake. Women’s rights activists have decried the ban and channeled their displeasure through the hashtag #ForcedHijab on social media.
Dorsa obtained her International Master and Woman Grandmaster titles in 2016 following multiple victories in the international stage, and currently lives in Barcelona. She joins the ranks of US Women’s Chess Champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes in her refusal to wear the prohibitive headwear, which is a tool of women’s oppression in the Middle East.