OSLO - An employee of the Iranian embassy in Oslo is seeking asylum in Norway, his lawyer said on Friday.

The man, who remains anonymous, is in hiding with his family while his application is handled by Norwegian authorities.

"He is an Iranian who was employed at the Iranian embassy in Oslo," his lawyer, Joergen Loevdal, told Reuters. "He has made a demand for asylum in December last year."

Loevdal said he was not sure if his client had diplomatic status and declined to say why his client was seeking asylum.

Several Iranian diplomats have defected in recent years in protest over human rights and electoral abuses in Iran, including Mohammad Reza Heydari, a former consular official in Norway, who defected in 2009, and Farzad Farhangian from the Iranian embassy in Brussels, who left in 2010.

Hossein Alizadeh resigned in 2010 from the Iranian embassy in Finland to join the political opposition.

Officials at the Iranian embassy in Oslo were not available to comment. The Norwegian foreign ministry declined to comment.

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