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Iran Diplomat Quits Over Protest Deaths

PRAGUE -- A spokesman for the Norwegian-Iranian Support Committee says the consul at the Iranian Embassy in Oslo has resigned to protest the "massacre" of demonstrators in Iran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The diplomat, Mohammad Reza Heidari, had reportedly worked in the embassy for about three years.

The Iranian Embassy in Norway has denied that Heidari resigned, dismissing the report as a "rumor and lie."

Norway's NRK TV station interviewed Heidari and the diplomat was quoted as asking the Norwegian government for assistance in his case.

"We political activists in Oslo had heard the news before the New Year but the news was vague and unconfirmed," Rahman Saaki, the spokesman for the Norwegian-Iranian Support Committee, told RFE/RL.

Saaki says he spoke directly to Heidari.

"Heidari said he resigned to protest the Islamic Republic's massacres in recent months, the killing of those asking for freedom," Saaki said. "Mr. Heidari clearly said that [he couldn't] defend a regime which kills its youths or sends them to jail to rape and torture them."

Saaki says that Heidari presented his resignation letter to the embassy himself and the embassy sent it to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Saaki told the "Norway Post" that there were concerns for Heidari's safety if he was forced to return to Iran.

Norway's Foreign Ministry was quoted by Reuters as saying it was aware of the media reports but that nobody had contacted the ministry about such a case.