The youths were sanctioned because their actions hurt Iran’s “national interests.”
Iranian officials have banned two siblings from representing the Islamic Republic in future chess tournaments after the sister failed to cover her hair and the brother played an Israeli opponent at a previous festival.
Dorsa Derakhshani, an 18-year-old chess grandmaster, was kicked off Iran’s national team after she failed to wear the hijab, the Islamic hair covering for females, at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2017, Radio Free Europe reported.
Women in Iran are forced to wear the hijab in public and while traveling abroad in an official capacity.
Derakhshani’s 15-year-old brother, Borna, was also booted from the national team after playing against an Israeli opponent at the same competition.
Iran does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, head of the Iranian Chess Federation, told Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency on Sunday that the siblings “will be denied entry to all tournaments taking place in Iran, and, in the name of Iran, they will no longer be allowed the opportunity to be present on the national team.”
While the siblings attended the Gibraltar event as individuals, rather than as members of the national team, Pahlvanzadeh suggested their actions hurt Iran’s “national interests.”
“Unfortunately, what shouldn’t have happened has happened. Our national interests have priority over everything,” Pahlevanzadeh told Fars. He also said he would show no “leniency” for those who harm Iran’s “ideals and principles.”
Dorsa is reportedly studying in Spain while Borna still lives in Iran.
Iran doesn’t just enforce the hijab on its own nationals, but also requires that non-Iranian women wear the hijab when competing nationally.
Nazí Paikidze-Barnes, the reigning American female chess champion, withdrew from the 2017 Women’s World Chess Championship after it was announced that it will be held in Iran and that participants would be forced to wear hijabs. Her petition demanding an end to “women’s oppression” has garnered over 17,000 signatures.
The United States Chess Federation, as well as chess luminaries, including former world champion Garry Kasparov and grandmasters Nigel Short, Carla Heredia, and Jen Shahade, have extended their support to Paikidze-Barnes. The English and Danish chess federations also opposed the decision to schedule the tournament in Iran.
By: The Tower