Tehran is recruiting nuclear scientists from all over the world to participate in its nuclear weapons program, a former Iranian diplomat says. A former Iranian consul in Norway, Mohamed Reza Heydari said in an interview published Thursday that he helped numerous North Koreans to enter the country while working for the foreign ministry at Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran.
"Our mission was to coordinate with a team from the Ministry of Intelligence in checking the visas of the foreign diplomatic and trade delegates who visited Iran, with special attention to VIPs," Heydari told the London Telegraph. "We had instructions to forgo any visa and passport inspections for Palestinians belonging to Hamas and North Korean military and engineering staff who visit Iran on a regular basis."
The North Koreans entering Iran "were all technicians and military experts involved in two aspects of Iran's nuclear program. One was to enable Iran to achieve nuclear bomb capability, and the other to help increase the range of Iran's ballistic missiles," Heydari said.
He added that in all Iranian embassies abroad, foreign ministry officials "were always looking for local scientists and technicians who were experts in nuclear technology and offered them lucrative contracts to lure them into Iran."
Heydari, who spent close to 20 years in the Iranian Foreign Ministry, defected in January after the regime used violence to suppress protests on the Shi'ite Muslim holy day of Ashura in December 2009. Last February, Norway granted him asylum.