AFP: Iran rejects protest resignation of consul in Oslo

Jan 18, 20100 comments

TEHRAN (AFP) – Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Monday confirmed Iran’s consul general in Oslo has resigned but said Tehran did not accept his resignation and still considers him a ministry employee. Mohammed Reza “Heydari has resigned but it has not been accepted and he must continue his work either there or in the ministry, and he has been informed of this decision,” Mottaki told reporters in Tehran. On January 7, Heydari said he had quit his job in protest at Tehran’s violent suppression of opposition demonstrations on 27 December, adding that he would not return to Iran for fear of repercussions. The Iranian embassy denied he had resigned, insisting the consul’s term had simply come to an end about a month ago. In reaction to Mottaki’s comments Monday, Heydari stood his ground and excluded returning to Tehran for fear of reprisals. “I am a diplomat and everyone knows what happens to a diplomat if he turns his back on a regime such as the one in place in Iran,” he told AFP in Oslo. “Returning to Tehran would be putting my life and my family’s at risk,” he said through an interpreter. Heydari said he would only return to Iran if the opposition prevailed in his country. “If not, I will continue fighting, in exile, for human rights alongside groups that defend freedom,” he said. “I have worked with Mr. Mottaki and have respect for him. But my message to him is clear: he has to look around him and become aware of what is happening. He has to resign and fight alongside his people, not against his people,” he added. The opposition protests on December 27, coinciding with the Shiite holy day of Ashura, left at least eight people dead and hundreds of others either injured or imprisoned. The diplomat, a married father of two whose family lives with him in Norway, has been stationed in Oslo for just over two years. He was unsure when asked if he planned to seek political asylum in Norway.