8 Aug 2009

Iranian teenager granted refugee status

2:18 pm on 8 August 2009

A 17-year-old who fled Iran after a run-in with paramilitary officers has been granted refugee status in New Zealand.

The boy was expelled from a school in Iran for questioning the role of imams and was arrested and beaten for flouting Iran's dress code. He said he faced military service to support a regime he detested.

The teenager's application for asylum was turned down when he arrived in New Zealand last December.

The refugee status appeals authority has now ruled that the teenager, whose identity is suppressed, fled Iran as a result of fear of persecution after a voluntary paramilitary group tried to arrest him for a crime he says he didn't commit.