Ahmadinejad`s cameraman seeks asylum in US: Report
A cameraman who accompanied Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN General Assembly here has stayed back and applied for an asylum in the US over fears of being persecuted in his home country.
New York: A cameraman who accompanied Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN General Assembly here has stayed back and applied for an asylum in the US over fears of being persecuted in his home country, a media report said on Tuesday.
New York City-based lawyer Paul O`Dwyer, who is working with US authorities on behalf of Hassan Golkanbhan, the cameraman who accompanied Ahmadinejad, said his client is afraid of persecution because of his perceived political beliefs, CNN reported.
"He`s perceived as not being a supporter, or being an opponent of the Iranian regime," O`Dwyer was quoted by CNN as saying.
"Somebody who has betrayed the regime and who can no longer be trusted by them," he added.
O`Dwyer said while the cameraman didn`t have any suspicion cast on him before his trip to New York, "there were things that he was expected to do that he was uncomfortable with doing," and "while he was here... His position on certain things became known to the Iranian government."
When Golkanbhan`s part of the Iranian delegation returned home last Thursday after Ahmadinejad`s addressed the General Assembly on Wednesday, the cameraman stayed behind, O`Dwyer said.
Since then, O`Dwyer has filed an asylum application on Golkanbhan`s behalf. The attorney said that the filing provided his client immediate protection from deportation.
O`Dwyer called it a "very, very major decision," with implications for Golkanbhan`s wife and two children, who have fled Iran for a haven he won`t disclose for their safety.
"The Iranian govt has a fairly long reach, and you know, we`re concerned about what may happen to them if they`re identified by the government," O`Dwyer said.
Golkanbhan is now waiting for an interview with US authorities, which O`Dwyer said could happen soon -- or months from now.
Calls to the Iranian mission at the United Nations have not been returned, according to the report, and the whereabouts of Golkanbhan are not clear.