The only woman to win an Olympic medal for Iran has defected from the country and criticized the regime in an Instagram post.
Kimia Alizadeh, a 21-year-old Taekwondo athlete, won a bronze medal during the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil.
Her statement comes shortly after Iran was forced to admit last week that it had lied about shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing all 176 people on board. Protesters are demonstrating in the country over the government's decision to lie.
Alizadeh posted her statement on Instagram on Sunday. The text was translated by The Daily Wire:
"How do I start? With a hello, a goodbye or to offer my condolences? Hello to the oppressed people of Iran, goodbye to the noble people of Iran, and my condolences to the perpetually mourning people of Iran. How well do you know me? Have you only seen me in sports matches, on television, or in the presence of government leaders?
Allow me to now freely and without censorship introduce myself. They will say after this I will amount to nothing. I myself believe that even before this I was nothing. I am Kimia Alizadeh; I am not a historian nor a champion nor a flag-bearing representative of Iran. I am one of millions of oppressed Iranian women who has been a pawn of the regime for years.
They have taken me wherever they have wanted. They dictated the way I should dress and every sentence that they asked me to say, I repeated. At any time they wanted, they paraded me around. They even sacrificed my medals and victories for their oppressive dress code and hijab. I was not important to them. None of us were. We were just tools.
They only cared about our medals. They were only as valuable as the political leverage that they could offer. At the same time, they tell you 'a woman should not stretch her legs.' Every morning I wake up my legs are unknowingly spinning like a fan and they expect not to be the flexible athlete that I am? In a live television interview they invited me to specifically ask me about this.
Now they I have left l, they say I sold out. 'Mr. Saee, I have left so that I don't become like all of you. And that I do not take even one further step in the direction that you have taken. If I had, I would have become much more successful much sooner.'
I turned my back because I am a human and I want to stay a human. In your male dominated and female oppressing minds you always thought ‘Kimia is a woman and will not speak.' My tortured soul will no longer serve your filthy political endeavors nor your dirty economic dealings.
Other than Taekwondo, the only thing i want is a happy and healthy life. To the kind and oppressed people of Iran: I did not want to climb to a pedestal whose steps are paved with lies and deceit and no one from Europe has invited me and no one has offered me anything, but I am willing to bear the difficulty of living in exile because I could no longer stay at a table where dishonesty, con-artistry and injustice were being served. Making this decision was more difficult than earning the Olympic gold medal, But please know that wherever I am I will forever remain a child of my native country. I will count on you and my only wish is to have the support of my people."