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Iran’s only female Olympic medalist defects with blistering attack

January 13, 2020 6:55 am
Kimia Alizadeh [Source: Reuters]

Iran’s only female Olympic medalist said she defected from the Islamic Republic in a blistering online letter that describes herself as “one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran.”

Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh posted the letter on Instagram as Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency said she had fled to the Netherlands.

She criticised wearing the mandatory hijab headscarf and accused officials in Iran of sexism and mistreatment.

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She described the decision to leave Iran as difficult, but necessary.

Her defection comes amid unprecedentedly high tensions between Iran and the United States.

In recent years, many Iranian athletes have left their country, citing government pressure.

Four months ago, Saeed Mollaei, an Iranian judoka, left the country for Germany.

He said Iranian officials had forced him to not compete with Israeli judoka.

Alireza Faghani, an Iranian international soccer referee, also left Iran for Australia last year.

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