Kimia Alizadeh made the announcement in an emotional post on her Instagram
Kimia Alizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, announced she has defected from the country in an emotional post shared on social media this weekend, according to multiple outlets.
The 21-year-old, who won bronze in taekwondo at the 2016 Summer Games, said she has permanently left the country for Europe due to the “hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery” of the government, she explained on Instagram Saturday, according to a translation from CNN.
“Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences,” she began the post, which included a picture of her at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years.”
“They took me wherever they wanted,” she continued. “I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me.”
Alizadeh said the government used her as a “tool” following her success in martial arts.
“I wasn’t important to them. None of us mattered to them, we were tools,” she wrote, according to CNN. “The virtue of a woman is not to stretch her legs!”
Alizadeh’s defection comes at a tumultuous time for the Iranian government, which admitted to “unintentionally” shooting down a Ukrainian plane on Wednesday and killing all 176 people on board. The government had vehemently denied shooting down the plane in the hours after the crash and instead pointed to mechanical failure as the cause.
The disaster occurred just hours after Iran launched a missile assault against U.S. military bases in Iraq. The admission set off a series of anti-government protests in the country over the weekend.
“My troubled spirit does not fit with your dirty economic ties and tight political lobbies,” Alizadeh wrote in her post, CNN reported. “I wish for nothing else than for Taekwondo, safety and for a happy and healthy life.”
“I remain a daughter of Iran wherever I am,” she added.
According to Yahoo Sports, Alizadeh is currently looking for another country to represent at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.