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Iranian Resistance urges Sweden to cut ties with Tehran after diplomat’s expulsion

Stockholm, Sweden (AP) – An Iranian opposition group on Tuesday urged the Swedish government to cut relations with Tehran after the expulsion of an Iranian diplomat accused of spying on exiles.

«This is the tip of a big iceberg given the magnitude of the (Iranian) regime's infiltration in Sweden,» said Perviz Khazai [Parviz Khazai], of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella organization for Iranian opposition groups.

Sweden expelled an Iranian diplomat in January, but did not say why at the time.

However, a Swedish Foreign Ministry official on Tuesday confirmed press reports that the diplomat was believed to have spied on Iranian exiles in Sweden.

«The fact that we expelled the diplomat is a sign that we are taking refugee espionage very seriously,» said the Swedish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

He said Sweden would not cut diplomatic ties with Iran, saying such a move would be «counterproductive.

Iran expelled a Swedish diplomat in February in what was seen as a retaliatory move, although Iranian officials would not comment on whether the two cases were related.

At a news conference in Stockholm, Iranian exiles said they were being harassed by the Iranian regime in threatening telephone calls and letters.

Officials at the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm were not immediately available for comment.

More than 70,000 Iranians live in Sweden, with most having fled there after Islamists took power in Tehran in 1979.