Exclusive: While Iran reacts to the latest UN draft sanctions aimed at their nuclear programme a former Iranian diplomat tells Lindsey Hilsum about the regime’s “divide and rule” tactics used in its dealings with the West.
Earlier this month I went to Oslo to meet the most senior Iranian diplomat to known to have resigned since last year’s disputed elections.
I say “known to have”, because according to Mohammed Reza Heydari, formerly Iran’s Consul in Norway, several others have quietly returned to enforced retirement in Tehran, opting for silence and safety. Many more, he says, just keep their heads down while waiting for the day the regime changes.
Mr Heydari’s story is both personal and political. The Iranian government says he is an opportunist who deserted his country to live the good life in Norway. He says he’s risking his life by speaking out – his mother-in-law’s house in Isfahan was attacked by suspected members of the basij militia, and he regularly receives threats by email or phone.
“My life is far from normal now. I can’t go anywhere without prior notification. Whoever I want to see I must first organise it with the security. They say it’s to protect my life,” he said, when I met him in a hotel in Oslo.
His 17-year-old son (featured in below video) – who convinced the father to support the opposition and leave the diplomatic service – was with him.
The story of his defection, in reaction to the crackdown on pro… >>>