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India chess player quits Iran tournament over headscarf rule

Indian chess champion Soumya Swaminathan has pulled out of an Asian tournament in Iran over the country's compulsory headscarf rule, The BBC reported on Wednesday. 

The 29-year-old Woman Grandmaster said the rule was a violation of her personal rights.

"Under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran," she wrote in a Facebook post, which went viral.

The Asian Chess Championship will take place in Iran next month.

Ms Swaminathan, who is ranked No 5 in India, told local media that the tournament was originally supposed to be held in Bangladesh. "But once the new dates and new venue came up, I excused myself," she said.

When asked if the All India Chess Federation (AICF) should have protested against the decision to shift location, she told the Times of India: "I can't expect everyone to be of the same opinion as me. It's a subjective issue."

But in her Facebook post, Ms Swaminathan said she was "disappointed to see that player's rights and welfare are given such less importance while allotting and/or organising official championships".