Two Iranian female chess players have competed in an international tournament without the hijab.

Sara Khadim and Atusa Pourkashian, who are playing in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan, have followed other Iranian women in ditching the headscarf.

Photos published on the International Chess Federation’s Flickr feed show him showing off his hair while concentrating on the game.

No comments were made on either woman’s Instagram page.

Atusa Pourkashian.  Photo: Lennart Oates/FIDE
Atusa Pourkashian. Photo: Lennart Oates/FIDE

The hijab, which is mandatory under Iran’s strict Islamic dress code, has become a focus of protests against the Iranian government.

Unrest spread after his death. Mehsa AminiThe 22-year-old, who died in custody in September after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly not wearing a hijab.

Ms Amini’s cousin Irfan Murtaza told Sky News she was. “Violence and Insult” before he died.

Women have played a prominent role in the protests, in some cases burning their scarves.

In October, Iranian climber Elnaz Rikabi competed in South Korea without a headscarf, later saying she had done so unintentionally.

In November, an Iranian archer said he did not see his hijab fall off during an awards ceremony in Tehran.

A video shows her allowing the headscarf to be removed in what is widely interpreted as a show of support for the protesters.

Sara Khadim  Photo: Lennart Oates/FIDE
Sara Khadim Photo: Lennart Oates/FIDE

Ahead of Iran’s first match at the Qatar World Cup recently, defender Ehsan Hajafi spoke out in apparent support of anti-government protesters at home.

“They should know that we are with them. And we support them. And we sympathize with them regarding the conditions,” said the AEK Athens player.

“We have to accept. The conditions of our country are not good and our people are not happy.. We are here but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be their voice or we shouldn’t respect them.”

The team did not sing the national anthem before their first game, but did before the second and third.

Earlier this month, Iran’s attorney general said that the moral police was “closed”..

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