TEHRAN: The head of Iran’s athletics federation resigned on Sunday over a sporting event featuring women without the mandatory headscarf, state media reported, as the Islamic republic toughens enforcement of hijab rules.

“Hashem Siami resigned from his post due to the controversies that arose from the endurance (running) race organised in Shiraz” in Iran, official news agency IRNA said.

According to images from Friday’s competition published by Iranian media, some women were running without headscarves, made compulsory shortly after the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Local organisers of the public event have also been summoned to provide “explanations”, the provincial prosecutor said in a statement.

Siami told IRNA he was not involved in organising the competition, and the unveiled athletes were not part of the national federation.

A new police programme came into force last month aiming for stricter enforcement of hijab-wearing in public.

The number of women in Iran defying the dress code has increased since a wave of protests following the September 16 death in custody of Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa Amini, 22, for allegedly breaching it.

Authorities in Tehran last week launched proceedings against at least four actors who had appeared in public without a headscarf, local media said.

More than 150 commercial establishments nationwide were closed after employees had allegedly violated the dress code, authorities said in mid-April.

Police in Shiraz arrested in June girls who removed their veils at a skateboarding event, as well as the organisers.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2023

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