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Iran’s first champion female boxer cancels return home after arrest warrant issued

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Hossein Soori, the head of Iran’s boxing federation, denied Miss Khadem would be arrested, attributing the information to “media linked to Saudi Arabia”.

“Mrs Khadem is not a member of (Iran’s) organised athletes for boxing, and from the boxing federation’s perspective all her activities are personal,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Iranian women’s participation in sports events is heavily restricted, though authorities are beginning to give ground in some areas after years of campaigning by pressure groups.

The federation now allows women to register to box, on condition that they be coached by a woman and wear the hijab while competing. To date, no bouts between female fighters have taken place in Iran.

Mr Monshipour was planning to travel back to Iran with Miss Khadem this week.

France’s foreign ministry could not immediately comment on the case.

Franco-Iranian relations are in a tense phase after comments by France’s ambassador to the US last week on Iran’s nuclear programme sparked an angry reaction from Tehran.

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