Iran has a strict headscarf law for women ©Getty Images

Iran's athletics head has resigned after women competed at an event without wearing a headscarf.

Hashem Siami has quit as Athletics Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran President following photos which emerged of women running in a marathon in Shiraz.

Wearing a headscarf is compulsory for women in Iran under the country's strict Islamic laws.

"Hashem Siami resigned from his post due to the controversies that arose from the endurance race organized in Shiraz," the country's official news agency IRNA said.

Siami told IRNA that he was not involved in the organisation of the competition - held to celebrate Shiraz Day - and that the athletes involved were not part of the national governing body.

Local organisers of the event have reportedly been ordered to provide an explanation.

Iran's headscarf law has received increased international attention after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while in custody for not wearing one in September.

Authorities claimed she had suffered a heart attack but eyewitnesses said she was severely beaten by police.

Amini's death led to widespread protests in Iran, including women removing their headscarves or cutting their hair.

The country has responded by doubling down on its law, with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi claiming that women must wear a headscarf as a "religious necessity".

Women defying the law face heavy fines with cameras set up to find offenders and warning text messages sent to those identified.

Restaurants and businesses serving or employing women without headscarves face being shut down, with five famous actresses among an increased number of women who have been summoned for breaking the law.

In June, police arrested girls without headscarves who were at a skateboarding event, as well as the organisers.

Kimi Alizadeh fled Iran and said authorities there linked her success to the headscarf law ©Getty Images
Kimi Alizadeh fled Iran and said authorities there linked her success to the headscarf law ©Getty Images

Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh, Iran's only female Olympic medallist after her bronze at Rio 2016, fled her homeland and defected to Germany in 2020.

Alizadeh, who later competed for the refugee team at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said Iranian authorities had tried to exploit her success by linking it to the headscarf law.

In October, Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi was seen in action at the Asian Championships in South Korea without a headscarf.

She made a public apology, claiming that her headscarf fell off by mistake, but concerns were raised that her interview on state television was forced.

National karate champion Mohammad Mehdi Karami was among four men executed in Iran for their involvement in the protests.

Handball player Razieh Janbaz said she was banned from leaving the country.

Iran is due to host the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Tehran next year.