Iran exiles claim defection of former air force officer


Green Wave anti-Ahmadinejad movement says Behzad Masoumi Legwan has arrived in France to seek political asylum

 
Businessman Amir Jahanchahi, who leads the Green Wave movement, has announced the defection of three diplomats from Iranian embassies in Europe in recent months. Iranian exiles opposed to the Islamic regime claimed a victory today with the defection of a former air force officer said to have significant links with senior members of the country’s military.

Behzad Masoumi Legwan, a lieutenant who was purged from the armed forces in 2001 but remained politically active until fleeing Iran last year, arrived in France today to seek political asylum, the Green Wave movement announced.

Masoumi, who fled Iran to Iraq, served as an interlocutor between disgruntled fellow air force officers and senior officers in other branches of the Iranian armed forces, it said.

The Green Wave, led by businessman Amir Jahanchahi, has announced the defection of three diplomats from Iranian embassies in Europe in recent months. Several more are apparently waiting to join the group in protest over human rights and electoral abuses in Iran.

It said in a statement that Masoumi’s position in Iran became untenable in June last year during the crackdown following the disputed presidential election in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad beat Mir Hossein Mousavi.

It has claimed to have the support of dissident elements in the Iranian revolutionary guard, one of the backbones of the regime.

„For reasons of security, with the aim of safeguarding the network of officers with whom he had been in communication, he was instructed to flee Iran – an order which Lieutenant Masoumi carried out in haste and with great risk to his personal safety by escaping to Iraqi Kurdistan without being in possession of any kind of travel documentation,“ it added.

Masoumi and other officers then „joined the Green Wave in its mission for overthrowing Ahmadinejad and his regime alongside those senior revolutionary guard officers who had also contacted Jahanchahi in the interim period“.

The Iranian government tried but failed to persuade the Iraqi authorities to hand him back – evidence of his importance, the Green Wave said. Masoumi’s contemporaries who are still in the air force reportedly include some of its most senior officers.

Masoumi’s wife accompanied him to France, which means she cannot be used for the sort of pressure the Iranian security authorities have applied to other defectors.

The Green Wave leader, Jahanchahi, says his goal is „overthrowing Ahmadinejad and the regime before they involve Iran in a destructive regional war with unimaginable consequences for international peace and security“.

Quelle

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