Iran’s only female Olympic medalist has said on social media she had left her homeland.
Reuters reports that the Taekwondo champion, Kimia Alizadeh, said this was because she had had enough of being used by Iranian authorities as a propaganda tool.
Alizadeh, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, implied in an Instagram post that she had now moved to Europe.
“No one has invited me to Europe and I haven’t been given a tempting offer.
“But I accept the pain and hardship of homesickness because I didn’t want to be part of hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery,” she said.
Alizadeh said the Islamic Republic’s authorities had attributed her success to their management and the fact that she wore the Islamic veil, which is obligatory in Iran.
“I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran whom they’ve been playing for years… I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered.
“Every sentence they ordered I repeated. None of us matter for them, we are just tools”, she said.
Alizadeh said that while the government exploited her medals politically, officials would humiliate her with remarks such as “It is not virtuous for a woman to stretch her legs!”
Alizadeh said at the time of her medal in the 57kg category that it had made her happy for Iranian girls.
On Sunday she appeared torn by her decision.
“Should I start with hello, goodbye or condolences? Hello oppressed people of Iran, goodbye noble people of Iran, my condolences to you people who are always mourning,” she wrote.
Mahin Farhadizadeh, a deputy Iranian sports minister, said: “I have not read Kimia’s post.
“But as far as I know she always wanted to continue her studies in physiotherapy,” the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.