A veteran Iranian diplomat based in Norway has resigned from his post, denounced his government and urged colleagues around the world to do the same after the regime’s brutal suppression of huge opposition demonstrations last month.
Mohammed-Reza Heydari, Iran’s consul in Oslo, is the first Iranian diplomat to publicly quit and condemn the regime. He revealed that it sought to lure him back to Tehran after rumors of his defection surfaced last week. At the time, the Iranian Foreign Ministry insisted that the rumors were baseless.
In an interview with the Norwegian television channel NRK, Heydari said that he decided to resign after Iranian security forces killed a dozen demonstrators on Dec. 27.
“I hope my friends and colleagues in other parts of the world who see and hear me now and know me will move in the same direction as their people. I hope they will manage to sacrifice some personal interests and rather think of what is in the interest of their people and their nation,” he said.
Heydari said that he did not fear for his life, but in the past the regime has arrested the relatives of those, such as Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel peace laureate, who criticize it from abroad. Opposition Web sites said that Heydari’s brother was a well-known Iranian television presenter.