Also see, FIDE 2016 General Assembly decisions.
Now the thing about Iran is, it does have rules and regulations that apply to women, ones that do not apply in most other countries, and this is, shall we say, potentially a matter for concern.
Without any official announcement, let alone one touching on the matters this raises, it's hard to say anything definitive, but I sent an email to the FIDE office to see what they could tell me.
27 September 2016 at 12:07
Sorry to bother you. I am a chess writer and a member of the English Chess Federation.
I read on your website that the 2017 Women's World Championship has been awarded to Iran (General Assembly decision GA-2016/31). I am writing to enquire whether women competing, reporting, spectating or attending in any other capacity will be required by their hosts, to wear clothing, for instance the headscarf, that they would not be obliged to wear in their home countries.
Huesca province Spain
They replied, very promptly, as they generally do.
From: FIDE Secretariat email@example.com
To: Justin Horton
cc: Nigel Freeman
27 September 2016 at 12:14
From my personal experience, all foreign women are obliged to wear headscarf in all public places in Iran.
You'll perhaps have noticed that while Polina hasn't actually said yes, nor has she said no, and her answer is more along the lines of yes than no. However, I subsequently received an email clarifying that women attending the championship will, indeed, be expected to wear the headscarf whether they like it or not.
From: Nastja Karlovich
To: Justin Horton
cc: Nigel Freeman, FIDE Secretariat
date: 27 September 2016 at 13:53
Dear Mr. Horton!
all competitors will be obliged to respect the laws of the country including the dress requirements.
You can check the UK foreign office for more information:
Best regards, Anastasiya Karlovich
FIDE Press Officer
Now matters relating to the headscarf are sensitive, as are matters relating to Islam, and for this reason commentors are asked to be thoughtful in what they say on the subject*. But it does seem to me that women should not be obliged to wear the headscarf as a condition of competing in, reporting on or simply attending a chess tournament, and if it is a condition of the host country that this occurs, then it probably shouldn't be the host country.
To say so isn't to lecture another country on what laws or customs it should have. It's to say that the laws and customs of the chess world should not be such as to discriminate against women. FIDE shouldn't be doing this: if and when there's a row, they will only have themselves to blame.
[* additionally - anonymous comments will not be permitted, and please do not make this all about a certain English grandmaster.]
[thanks to Chris Rice]
[this piece revised after publication in order to incorporate the final email]