Sadaf Khadem, an Iranian boxer who contested and won her first official international fight, has cancelled her return to Iran. She halted the trip after learning of a warrant of arrest issued to her and her trainer.
Khadem was scheduled to fly back to Iran after winning over French boxer, Anne Chauvin, over the weekend. She was supposed to travel to Tehran with her trainer and former award-winning World Boxing Association champion, Mahyar Monshipour.
Ms. Khadem is accused of breaking the Iranian dress code for women during the weekend, after she wore a green tank top, red shorts, as well as a white band, all of which appear in the Iranian flag. Her hair was also unveiled; a gesture which intersects with the Iranian laws and culture.
Mahyar Monshipour is a native Iranian who also holds French citizenship. He had planned to fly back to Tehran but had to cancel the trip after learning about his impending arrest through a text message.
Sadaf Khadem, who is a professional exercise trainer, spoke to L’Equipe, a French sports magazine and said: “The match that I fought took place in Rayon, France. It was an approved match. It surprises me how it goes against the rules of my country, yet to the entire world, it was a commonplace occurrence seeing a female boxer wearing a vest and a pair of shorts. My head was not covered in hijab, and my trainer was a man – some people have a narrow perspective on this.”
Her comments elicited no comments from Iranian officials. However, the Iranian Boxing Federation issued a report through its Chair, saying that the upcoming boxing sensation was not under an arrest warrant if she decides to return home.
“Ms. Khadem is currently not registered with the organized boxing athletes. From the federation’s perspective, the decisions she makes in her current boxing career are personal,” Hossein Soori told an Iranian media house.
Clara Dallay, Khadem’s agent, has a contrary opinion. Speaking to Reuters, she concurred that there was a warrant of arrest issued on her client. Additionally, a source close to the boxer said she is accused of going against the Iranian dress code with the help of her male trainer.
Sadaf Khadem expressed her disappointment in the way the Iranian official handled the matter. She said, “I fought with honor when I wore my country colors on Saturday. I even honored our national anthem. Which country serves a warrant of arrest to such a person?”