Who is Mitra Hejazipour, the French champion who defies the mullahs?

She dreams of ringing The Marseillaise in Bydgoszcz in Poland where the women’s world team chess championship is held from Wednesday to Monday. For his first competition under the colors of the France team, Mitra Hejazipour feels in any case ready to challenge the eleven other nations involved in the competition. “I feel good and my latest results have proven it,” she says before flying away with her four partners. Ten days ago, the 30-year-old young woman was indeed full of confidence by winning the title of French chess champion in Alpe-d’Huez.

A masterstroke for the player of Iranian origin who only obtained French nationality in March. “His victory testifies not only to his personal excellence, but also to the strength of character and hard work that is necessary to reach such a level”, greeted François Cuillandre, mayor of Brest, on social networks.

A track record as long as the veil she refused to wear

Because it is at the tip of Brittany, several thousand kilometers from her native country, that the young woman, in love with France and in love with freedom, landed at the beginning of 2019, recruited by the local club of chess. A discipline in which Mitra Hejazipour has excelled since she was six years old. “It was my father who passed on his passion to me at a very young age,” she says. The prize list of this grand master of chess is indeed impressive with a title of vice-champion of Asia in children then a title of champion of Iran and champion of Asia in adults.

At the top of the world hierarchy, his destiny will however change at the end of 2019 at the world blitz chess championship (fast games) in Moscow. Defying the mullahs’ regime, Mitra Hejazipour thus refuses to wear the hijab and presents himself with his hair in the wind during the competition, provoking the anger of the Iranian authorities and his exclusion in the wake of the national team. “I have always been a free woman and I had already been thinking about not wearing it for a while, says the Franco-Iranian. I was tired of hearing what we should wear and I wanted to show my opposition. »

“Quite optimistic” about the situation of women in his country

Since her coup, the chess champion has never returned to her country. “If I go back, I think I will have problems. Now settled in Paris, where she has just obtained a master’s degree in software engineering, the young woman is also waiting to see her family again. “I come from a fairly traditional and religious family,” she says. They did not really understand my gesture at first but they support me now. »

Forced into exile, Mitra Hejazipour nevertheless remains very attentive to news from Iran. And in particular to the situation of women who have been challenging the mullahs’ regime for several months. “I hope I can be a model for them, underlines the brand new champion of France. In any case, I am very proud to see them fighting in the streets for their freedoms and that makes me quite optimistic for my country. »

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