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Iranian Diplomats Defect In Finland, Belgium

Source: RFE/RL

Iranian opposition members say another Iranian diplomat has defected in Europe -- this time in Belgium.


The Europe-based Green Wave opposition movement said Farzad Farhangian, press attache at the Iranian Embassy in Brussels, walked out on September 10 and flew to Oslo.

In Norway, former Iranian consular official Mohammed Reza Heydari confirmed that Farhangian "left the embassy after informing the ambassador that he was leaving and he came here without anyone [else] knowing about this."

Heydari himself resigned and was granted asylum in Norway in January.

Hossein Alizadeh said he could not return to Iran because he risked "capital punishment."

Earlier today, Hossein Alizadeh, who quit as deputy head of Iran's mission in Finland on September 10, today sought asylum in Helsinki after accusing Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad of stealing the June 2009 election from opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi and of persecuting opposition members.

Alizadeh said he could not return to Iran because he risked "capital punishment."

Finnish officials today declined to comment on Alizadeh's case.

compiled from agency reports

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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