Another Iranian diplomat, this one stationed at his country’s embassy in Brussels, has defected and sought asylum in Norway. The leader of a Norwegian-Iranian support committee predicts more such defections will follow.
The diplomat in Brussels is the third to leave his post in Europe to protest the country’s government regime. Mohammed Reza Heydari, who had been working as consul at Iran’s embassy in Oslo for three years, was the first to defect earlier this year. Another Iranian diplomat defected in Finland over the weekend.
“We have contact with many diplomats, and know that several more plan to defect in protest over the Iranian regime,” Rahman Saki of the Norwegian-Iranian support committee told NRK.
The latest defector is 47 years old and worked for the Iranian foreign ministry for 23 years. His postings included Senegal, France and Belgium. He reportedly had been in contact with Heydari, which caused him problems with his government bosses.
Saki said he received a threat from an Iranian agent that he and his family would be injured if he defected. Heydari told Aftenposten.no that the former diplomat in Brussels is now with him in Oslo.
His lawyer, Arild Humlen, said it was no coincidence that he decided to seek asylum in Norway. “For security reasons he was forced to seek asylum in a country other than the one where he was stationed,” Humlen told NRK. “He chose Norway because he views it as a land where he can feel an adequate degree of safety.”
Norwegian government officials wouldn’t immediately comment on the defection. Diplomatic relations are strained between Norway and Iran, and both countries have expelled each other’s envoys.