Iranian consular official in Finland defects

The ranking diplomat was upset with Iran`s treatment of its citizens.

Paris: A ranking diplomat at the Iranian embassy in Finland said he has quit his job to protest the Islamic Republic`s treatment of its citizens.

Hossein Alizadeh said he had held the No 2 post at the embassy in Helsinki as deputy head of mission. He said he informed the embassy four days ago of his decision to quit after staying off the job for nearly a month.

"I don`t consider myself anymore a diplomat standing beside a brutal Iranian regime," Alizadeh said in a telephone interview yesterday from the Finnish capital.

He said that "I have let the embassy now that I have resigned from my job and ... I`m not anymore a diplomat. I am a political dissident."

Alizadeh said he was considering how to more forward, and so far had not applied for political asylum.

The Iranian embassy in Helsinki did not answer its phone last evening and messages could not be left.

Finland`s Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of Alizadeh`s case.

Alizadeh is the second Iranian diplomat in Europe known to have cast off his job to protest the Iranian government`s policies and crackdown on citizens.

Iranian consular official Mohammed Reza Heydari left his post in Oslo, Norway, in January, and was granted political asylum in that country.

Alizadeh said he has joined no particular movement, "just the general green movement of the Iranian nation."


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