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Iranian Diplomats Defecting

By on 9.13.10 | 9:21PM

AP:

HELSINKI — A third Iranian diplomat upset with Tehran's post-election crackdown on dissidents has defected in Europe — this time in Belgium, an opposition group said Monday. The announcement came just hours after the No. 2 man at Iran's mission in Helsinki said he will seek asylum in Finland...

The Europe-based Green Wave opposition movement said Farzad Farhangian, press attache at the Iranian Embassy in Brussels, walked out Friday and flew to Oslo. The group's founder, Amir Hossein Jahanchahi, said in a statement that "other defections from diplomats abroad will follow."

It was the third known defection of an Iranian diplomat in Europe this year to protest Tehran's crackdown.

Mohammed Reza Heydari, who was granted asylum in Norway after leaving his post as an Iranian consular official there in January, confirmed that Farhangian had defected in Brussels. Heydari said Farhangian supported the opposition movement that grew out of unrest following the June 2009 election...

Earlier Monday, Iranian diplomat Hossein Alizadeh, who resigned last week from the embassy in Finland, told reporters that he will apply for political asylum in the Nordic country.

"I cannot accept, tolerate this fraud election. The situation got worse because ... my people are being killed still," Alizadeh said in Helsinki. He added that he was no longer a diplomat but "a political dissident," and that he has no political ambitions except to be a member of the opposition.

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