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Kletterin Nasim Eshqi

Arno Dejaco

Nasim Eshqi: „There is no way back“

Nasim Eshqi ist die einzige iranische Profikletterin. Seit Beginn ihrer Karriere hat sie sich immer auch politisch engagiert, in den letzten Wochen hat sie ihr Engagement intensiviert. Im FM4 Interview erzählt Nasim Eshqi, warum sich gerade die Kletter-Community für Freiheit und Menschenrechte einsetzt und wie die aktuellen Geschehnisse im Iran ihr privates und berufliches Leben verändern.

Von Simon Welebil

Nasim, you’ve originally come to Austria to to talk about climbing in Iran, but do you still feel comfortable doing that? With all what’s going on in Iran at the moment?

Nasim Eshqi: Yes, I feel very comfortable because I think my platform with the climbing community is a very good platform to raise awareness about the situation in Iran. Also, because we climbing people, mountain people, we are always talking about freedom and human rights because we feel freedom and we find freedom in the mountains. So it’s also important to feel where in the climbing community freedom is missing. Then we can support each other as we support each other with rescue teams in the mountains. This is also a rescue team of voices that are blocked in Iran. So if I have a platform, I do this for my people in Iran.

„This is also a rescue team of voices that are blocked in Iran.“

So you find a connection between climbing and the fight for human rights?

Yes. It is all connected. We cannot say we ignore each other because we just want to go high up in the mountain. Of course we can ignore politics, but we cannot ignore human rights.

There was another Iranian climber who made the headlines of international media recently. What do you think about her?

I as a climber am protesting since the beginning when I started climbing. And my protest is a long resistance protest. With not covering myself in the mountain I lost a lot of benefit in the country. My belief is that any action under the flag of Islamic Republic is supporting Islamic Republic with cover or without cover. So for me, that’s not a strong action to show I am against the regime, it is an action which gives more power to the Islamic regime.

Kletterin Nasim Eshqi

Moritz Iatzka

In the last weeks, a lot has changed in Iran. A lot of things have happened. What has changed for you personally since the death of Mahsa Amini?

It made me aware of who I am in the climbing society. I understood that I am looking for freedom and I have to be the voice of freedom, which I always have been for myself. And now in this situation, I thought that this is not me if I am silent, because if I’m silent, I stand on the side of dictators and I don’t want to be on the side of dictators.

„I’m a human and I want to work with the companies which care about human rights.“

I even stopped working with one of my sponsors because I asked them to be the voice for human rights for Iranian people. And because they ignored me and they just said that they don’t want to talk about politics. So for my dignity, I don’t want every benefit from my sponsors just to have gear and be silent and use the benefit. I am not only a number in the climbing community who will be able to climb hard and difficult. I’m a human and I want to work with the companies which care about human rights. And if not, I prefer to be solo. Just go on and use the nature. My strongest sponsor is nature and I don’t want to promote any companies which are silent in these difficult conditions for women in Iran. They are dying in the streets, men also. A company just thinking of their benefits - this is not correct.

How do you support the protests in Iran at the moment?

I decided not to go back to Iran, because if I go back, I will be voiceless. I will lose my platform. So I decided to stay outside and give the voice to my Iranian friends as much as possible. Raise awareness in Europe, in the climbing community and in the mountaineering community, which was very successful until today. I will continue doing that until the end, until the regime changes, and then I will go back to Iran.

What is the message you want to send out there?

My message, especially to the Western people, is that you are not a small, you have effects. Any small thing you do has an effect. They should talk about freedom and human rights as much as possible. And they should look at it in a way that we are all human.

Do you think there is a chance for real change in Iran now?

Yes, of course, because there is no way back. It is like if you learn how to read, you can’t delete disability anymore from your brain. So now the awareness is too high in Iran, people know something that they didn’t know before and that makes them powerful. If they want to change something, they die. But they cannot go back to their previous life. They feel pride in their mind. They feel power. So they don’t want to go back to the time 55 days ago and they don’t want to go back to that feeling that they should not talk. They are ready to die or have freedom.

„I believe we need to lose something to gain something else.“

You said earlier you’re not going back to Iran. What does that mean for you personally?

For me personally, it means I can’t see my family. I can’t see my friends. I will lose a lot of things. But I believe we need to lose something to gain something else. I can’t have everything at once. I can’t keep covering my hair, get the benefit and showing that I’m not covered for example.

What does that mean for your climbing career?

When Mahsa died, I also died with her with and with the many other girls who died. So for me, climbing lost its sense for now. And I would like to get to the point that I can climb again full attack as I was doing before. But I also need to finish this project of fighting for freedom and that’s more important. And then I will have both in the future, I’m sure about that.

Thank you very much.

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