Iranian consular official in Finland defects to the West

PARIS — A ranking diplomat at the Iranian Embassy in Finland said he has quit his job to protest the Islamic Republic's treatment of its citizens.
Hossein Alizadeh said he had held the No. 2 post at the embassy in Helsinki as deputy head of mission. He said he informed the embassy four days ago of his decision to quit after staying off the job for nearly a month.
"I don't consider myself anymore a diplomat standing beside a brutal Iranian regime," Alizadeh said in a telephone interview Friday from the Finnish capital.
He said that "I have let the embassy now that I have resigned from my job and ... I'm not anymore a diplomat. I am a political dissident."
Alizadeh said he was considering how to more forward, and so far had not applied for political asylum.
The Iranian Embassy in Helsinki did not answer its phone on Friday evening and messages could not be left.
Finland's Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of Alizadeh's case.