An Iranian opposition group is claiming that an Iranian diplomat has defected from his post in Italy and is seeking political asylum in France as a protest against the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Officials at Europe-based group Green Wave said Sunday that Ahmad Maleki - who is also a nephew of reformist Ayatollah Mehdi Karroubi - quit his post as first secretary at Iran's consulate in Milan a day earlier.
If confirmed, the defection would be at least the fourth by an Iranian diplomat in Europe since the start of 2010 as a protest against the country's Islamic regime.
Green Wave, which supports such defections, claims that active diplomats and other Iranian state officials are secretly working with the group.
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