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Defecting Iranian Diplomat Says Ahmadinejad Government 'Damaging Iran'

Former Iranian diplomat Hussein Alizadeh at a news conference in Helsinki on September 13
Former Iranian diplomat Hussein Alizadeh at a news conference in Helsinki on September 13
An Iranian diplomat who resigned to join the opposition Green Movement says that the rule of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's government has damaged Iran's prestige and honor, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Hussein Alizadeh, who resigned on September 11 as the second in charge at the Iranian Embassy in Finland, told Radio Farda in an interview: "I didn't know that [the regime] would damage our prestige like the Mongolian did," a reference to the 13th-century conqueror Chinggis Khan.

Alizadeh, 45, is the third Iranian diplomat in Europe to step down and join the opposition this year, after Mohamed Reza Heydari left the Iranian Embassy in Norway in January and Farzad Farhangian, press attache at the Iranian Embassy in Brussels, walked out on September 10 and flew to Oslo.

Alizadeh, who said he is applying for political asylum in Finland, told Radio Farda that he could no longer stay quiet about injustice in Iran. He said he didn't have any answers about government actions for his children and the young generation in Iran who are opposed to such injustices.

Alizadeh said he considers himself a supporter of opposition leader Mir Hussein Musavi and a member of the opposition Green Movement that emerged after the disputed 2009 presidential election.

"The reason I announced my resignation months after the election crackdown is because we are part of the Green Movement's social network and Mir Hussein Musavi urged the network to become active," Alizadeh told Radio Farda. "After the besieging of [opposition leader] Mehdi Karrubi's house [by government supporters earlier this month] and the attack on the Ghoba Mosque in Shiraz, I thought this is the right time for me."

Alizadeh said that just as he was not the first person to resign from Iran's diplomatic corps, he will not be the last.

"A friend of mine recently came from Iran and when I asked him about the situation at the Foreign Ministry he told me that 90 percent of the people working there think the same as I do," he said.

Alizadeh said that even if only 9 percent of Foreign Ministry personnel think like him, there are likely to be other employees leaving the ministry in the future.