Iran’s only female Olympic medalist defects

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Taekwondo champion Kimia Alizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, said Sunday that she was defecting from the Islamic republic.

Alizadeh, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said she was leaving her home country because she was tired of being used as a propaganda tool in a country where women are oppressed.

“I accept the pain and hardship of homesickness because I didn’t want to be part of hypocrisy, lies, injustice, and flattery,” she said in Instagram posts announcing that she had left her homeland for Europe.

Mahin Farhadizadeh, a deputy Iranian sports minister, said Alizadeh “always wanted to continue her studies in physiotherapy.” Alizadeh is the third top Iranian athlete to stop representing the country in the last several months.

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