Iran says defecting envoys' motives personal not political

21st September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Iran on Tuesday said personal rather than political motives are behind the defection of two diplomats in Europe, adding that its foreign envoys en masse support the values of the Islamic revolution.

"No one believes in their political intentions, either here or outside Iran. It is more a case of preferring personal interests over national interests," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference.

Mehmanparast was answering a question about announcements by two Iranian diplomats that they are seeking refuge in European countries.

Farzad Farhangian, a press attache at Iran's embassy in Brussels, called last week for an uprising against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government and announced he was seeking asylum in Norway.

Earlier this month, Hossein Alizadeh, a senior official at Iran's embassy in Helsinki, said he was seeking asylum in Finland.

"Their mission was already over so their claim that they have resigned before the end of their mission is not true," Mehmanparast said.

"If someone has a political incentive he will not stay on and receive 15 months' salary," he added, referring to the time elapsed since Ahmadinejad was re-elected in disputed presidential poll in June 2009.

"We consider this to be an administrative breach," Mehmanparast said.

"In the years after the revolution more than 20,000 diplomats have been sent on missions and among them only 20 have committed such administrative violations.

"This shows that the foreign ministry is filled with dedicated people who strongly support the values of the (1979) Islamic revolution. This number (of defectors) could happen in any nation," he said.

Norway in February granted asylum to Mohamed Reza Heydari, the former consul general of the Islamic republic's mission in Oslo, after he resigned the previous month.

Ahmadinejad's June 2009 re-election has bitterly divided the political elite in Iran, as the opposition charged the poll was massively rigged to keep the hardliner in power.

© 2010 AFP

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