Kimia Alizadeh celebrates after defeating Nikita Glasnovic of Sweden during the Women's -57kg bronze medal taekwondo contest at the 2016 Olympics. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Kimia Alizadeh, the first and only Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal, announced on Instagram Saturday that she has permanently left her home country, condemning the Iranian government for its "corruption and lies."

What she's saying: The 21-year-old Alizadeh, who won the bronze medal in taekwondo at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, said she would always remain a "daughter of Iran," but that she could no longer sit at the regime's "table of hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery," according to a CNN translation.

  • "I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years," Alizadeh wrote.
  • "They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me."

The big picture: Alizadeh's defection comes at a fraught moment for the Iranian government, which is facing growing domestic unrest over the downing of a Ukrainian commercial jet last week. Protests roiled the country this weekend, with many demonstrators calling for the resignation of top officials — including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Go deeper: Iran's 3 catastrophic mistakes

Go deeper

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m EST: 6,975,980 — Total deaths: 202,738 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package.
  4. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  6. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  7. Sports: Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic — Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
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Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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