HELSINKI (AP) — A third Iranian diplomat upset with Teheran's post-election crackdown on dissidents has defected in Europe — this time in Belgium, an opposition group said. The announcement came just hours after the No. 2 man at Iran's mission in Helsinki said he will seek asylum in Finland.
The defections are an embarrassment for Iran, which clamped down on citizens after last year's presidential election was followed by large-scale protests and accusations that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by fraud. Numerous Iranians have been arrested in an ongoing crackdown.
The Europe-based Green Wave opposition movement said Monday that Farzad Farhangian, press attache at the Iranian Embassy in Brussels, walked out Friday and flew to Oslo. The group's founder, Amir Hossein Jahanchahi, said in a statement that "other defections from diplomats abroad will follow."
It was the third known defection of an Iranian diplomat in Europe this year to protest the Islamic Republic's crackdown.