Farzad Farhangian, a 47-year-old press attache at the Iranian Embassy in Brussels, arrived in Norway on Monday night and is planning to hand an application for asylum to Norwegian authorities Tuesday, his lawyer told Babylon & Beyond from Oslo.
Farhangian’s move marks the third time in less than a year that an Iranian diplomat has defected and applied for asylum in a Scandinavian country.
Saying he was angered by the crackdown on dissidents during the Iranian presidential elections last year, Farhangian slammed Tehran’s hard-line government at a news conference in Oslo on Tuesday and said he had joined the political opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“I’m apologizing to the Iranian people. During the last 30 years I was of service to the Iranian people, 23 of them in the diplomatic service, but the deviation that the Iranian republic has reached leaves me no choice. I hope to be a voice of the opposition,” Agence-France Presse quoted Farhangian as saying before reporters.