Another high-ranking diplomat at the Embassy of Iran in Oslo has defected, but his Norwegian lawyer won’t say why. It’s the third known defection in as many years, but the veteran diplomat involved now seems intent on maintaining a much lower profile.
“He wants to remain anonymous out of consideration to himself and his family,” attorney Jørgen Løvdal told newspaper Dagbladet. “He doesn’t want to say anything about the background for why he has applied for asylum, or the circumstances around it.”
Dagbladet reported that the defection occurred in December, and that the former diplomat and his family have since been living at a secret location. He reportedly had worked at the embassy in Oslo for several years.
Neither the Norwegian foreign ministry, Norway’s police intelligence unit PST nor officials at the embassy would comment on the case. The man and his family reportedly are now awaiting a decision from Norwegian immigration agency UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet).
Two other Iranian diplomats have sought asylum in Norway since 2010 including Mohammed Reza Heydari, who quit his job at the embassy in Oslo to protest the Iranian authorities’ treatment of demonstrators in Iran in late 2009. He ended up seeking asylum because he was afraid to return to Iran, and his application was approved, leading to what Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) called a “diplomatic crisis” at the time between Norway and Iran.
Another Iranian diplomat working at Iran’s embassy in Brussels also sought asylum in Norway, and more such defections were predicted at the time.