Iran athlete says ‘no regrets’ after losing eye at protest

An Iranian archer who had lost sight in her left eye after being shot by security forces has said she has “no regrets” for joining nationwide protests.

Iranian authorities have cracked down on more than four months of anti-regime protests sparked by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, arrested for allegedly violating strict dress rules for women.

Kosar Khoshnoudikia, a member of Iran’s national archery team, had been shot at a rally last year in her hometown of Kermanshah, in the Kurdish-populated west, said the Norway-based rights group Hengaw.

“I have felt no regrets for being there on that day, at that time,” Khoshnoudikia said in a video posted Monday by London-based Iran International TV.

Appearing without a headscarf and with her left eye concealed by a patch, Khoshnoudikia said in the video she had been shot in early December while attending a march in Kermanshah with her father.

“Three shots hit my right hand and one shot hit my left eye,” she said, adding her father had also been shot in the hand.

Amnesty International and other rights groups have accused Iranian security forces of partially or completely blinding multiple protesters, firing live ammunition and metal pellets at close range.

Khoshnoudikia, who won silver in the compound bow women’s team event at the 2021 Asian Archery Championships, did not say whether she believed she could resume her sporting career.

Despite multiple operations, she has permanently lost the sight in her left eye, according to Hengaw.

“I am never sad about what happened,” she said. “I lost some things, but I gained a lot.”

It was not immediately clear where Khoshnoudikia was speaking from.

At least 481 people have been killed in the authorities’ crackdown on the protest movement, according to Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights.

Khoshnoudikia said she had lost sight in one eye “for a purpose. I have never felt sad for myself and for what happened.”

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