Monday, January 18, 2010

Iran Rejects Resignation of Its Diplomat in Norway

Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Monday that he has not accepted the resignation of Mohammad Reza Heydari, Iran’s consul in Norway. Heydari resigned on 7 January in protest at Tehran’s violent suppression of opposition demonstrations during Ashura (27 December).

Mottaki demanded Heydari’s return to Tehran. The Iranian embassy in Oslo and the Iranian foreign ministry in Tehran had until now denied that one of their diplomats had resigned in protest.

Heydari said on Monday in Oslo that he would not return to Iran for fear of repercussions.

"Returning to Tehran would be putting my life and my family's at risk," he said. The diplomat, a married father of two whose family lives with him in Norway, has been stationed in Oslo for just over two years.

"I have worked with Mr. Mottaki and have respect for him. But my message to him is clear: he has to look around him and become aware of what is happening. He has to resign and fight alongside his people, not against his people," Heydari added.

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