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Iranian Chess Star Dorsa Derakhshani Banned for Not Wearing Hijab

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Dorsa Derakhshani
Iranian chess player Dorsa Derakhshani speaks in an interview. voa

A leading Iranian chess player, Dorsa Derakhshani was barred from her homeland’s team after she refused to wear a headscarf, will now compete as a player for the United States, the US Chess Federation said.

Dorsa Derakhshani, 19, who was born in Tehran, was forbidden from playing by the Iranian Chess Federation following the Gibraltar Chess Festival in January, US Chess said on its website. She did not wear a hijab during the event.

Since then, she has moved to the United States where she attends Saint Louis University and plays for the school’s team.

Dorsa Derakhshani will now compete as an official United States chess player, US Chess posted on its website this week. US Chess is the national governing body for chess competition, sanctioning championships and overseeing player rankings.

‘Welcomed and supported’

“It feels good and … peaceful to play for a federation where I am welcomed and supported,” the website quoted Derakhshani as saying.

On a U.S. radio broadcast last week, she said: “I’m looking forward to finally having a stable trainer and a team, and I really wish to become grandmaster.”

She also said she hopes to become a dentist.

Dorsa Derakhshani holds the titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster with the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

A few weeks after the Gibraltar competition, the Iranian Chess Federation announced it was banning Dorsa Derakhshani for not wearing a hijab. It also banned her brother, who had played an Israeli player in Gibraltar, US Chess said.

Ban may be a distraction

Derakhshani said on the National Public Radio broadcast that she had competed before without a headscarf and thought the ban was issued for other reasons.

The announcement was made during the Women’s World Chess Championship in Tehran, and all three Iranian competitors had lost in the opening round.

“So in the middle of all this, they needed another distraction … which worked perfectly,” she said in the broadcast. “Everybody started talking about us.”

Several top players including the U.S. women’s champion Nazi Paikidze boycotted the Tehran competition because players were required to wear a headscarf, US Chess said.(voa)

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European Deal Signatories Criticize U.S. Decision of Ending Waivers on Iran’s Oil Sanction

The EU and the European powers also on May 4 said they took note "with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran."

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Nuclear deal
A heavy water tank is removed at the Arak nuclear complex in this 2016 photo. RFERL

The European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany expressed concern about the U.S. decision not to extend two waivers related to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and others regarding Tehran’s oil industry.

The EU and the three European signatories of the accord said in a joint statement on May 4 that they were troubled by the U.S. decision “not to fully renew waivers for nuclear nonproliferation projects in the framework” of the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the [JCPOA],” they wrote.

“It aims at having a positive impact not only on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people,” the statement added.

The United States under then-President Barack Obama, along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, signed the landmark accord with Iran in 2015 that provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

But President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the deal and began reimposing sanctions, although he granted some waivers. In withdrawing, Trump said Tehran was not living up to the “spirit” of the accord because of its support for militants in the region and for continuing to test nuclear weapons. Tehran denied the charges.

Tehran and the other signatories opposed the U.S. move and said they would remain part of the deal.

U.S.
Washington did extend five other waivers for up to 90 days related to elements of Tehran’s civilian nuclear program.RFERL

According to nuclear inspectors, Tehran has kept its nuclear program within the main limits imposed by the accord. Under the terms, Iran is allowed to keep 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent — far below the level needed to build nuclear weapons

Iran was to sell off any enriched uranium above the limit on international markets in return for natural uranium. It was also allowed to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium-enrichment process in Oman.

The United States on May 3 announced it would not to extend two sanctions waivers regarding Iran’s nuclear activities as part of efforts to force Tehran to stop producing low-enriched uranium.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would impose sanctions on anyone involved in the trade of natural for enriched uranium — as well as in the storage of Iranian heavy water that was in excess of limits.

Washington did extend five other waivers for up to 90 days related to elements of Tehran’s civilian nuclear program.

They allow for work to continue at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the Fordow enrichment facility, the Arak nuclear complex, and the Tehran Research Reactor.

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Tehran and the other signatories opposed the U.S. move and said they would remain part of the deal. Pixabay

However, it warned that sanctions could be imposed on countries if they provide assistance to expand the Bushehr facility beyond the one existing reactor.

Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani on May 4 said Iran will continue to enrich uranium in accordance with the accord regardless of U.S. moves to put a stop to it.

“Under the [accord], Iran can produce heavy water and this is not in violation of the agreement. Therefore, we will carry on with enrichment activity,” the semiofficial news agency ISNA quoted Larijani as saying.

Also Read: North Korea: ‘Multiple Rocket Launchers’ On Kim’s Order Confirms State Media

The EU and the European powers also on May 4 said they took note “with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran.”

The United States earlier in the week decided not to extend waivers granted to eight countries that allowed them to continue to do business with Iran’s crucial oil-export industry. Washington is attempting to bring the country’s oil exports down to zero by pressuring buyers. (RFERL)