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Former Iranian consul asks Norway for political asylum

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - A former Iranian consul to Norway, who had resigned in late 2009 over the crackdown on opposition protests by Iran's government, asked Norwegian authorities for political asylum, the Norway Post newspaper said on Thursday.

Opposition supporters gathered on December 26 in an apparent attempt to revive anti-government demonstrations that followed presidential elections in June when the opposition, led by defeated candidate Mousavi, lost the elections. Protestors claimed the polls had been rigged in favor of Iran's hardline leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Governmental forces dispersed the protest, arresting some 300 people. More than 15 people died in clashes with police.

Mohammad Reza Heydari then described the government's response to the protest, which came as the country marked Ashura, a 10-day period of Shiite religious ceremonies, as "force and brutality." He resigned his diplomatic post in protest and remained in Norway.

"I understood that [my] conscience will not allow me to continue working," he said.

The former diplomat currently lives in Norway's capital, Oslo, together with his wife and two children. Tehran has called for him to return to Iran, but he has refused over fears of political persecution.

The paper said the former diplomat's asylum request could remain under consideration for months.

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