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Norwegian Minister Quits After Breaching Rules On Iran Trip

Norwegian Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg has resigned amid a wave of criticism for not informing the government of his recent private trips to Iran and China.

Sandberg admitted he had travelled to Iran in July and to China in May without informing the prime minister's office in advance.

Sandberg, 58, deputy head of the far-right, anti-immigration Progress Party, has also faced criticism for going on the trips with his girlfriend, Iranian-born Bahareh Letnes, 28, who obtained residency in Norway a decade ago.

Sandberg also admitted bringing his work phone with him.

In Norway, government members are required to report before going abroad on private trips, regardless of destination.

Norway also forbids the use of government-issued phones in a country with which Norway does not have established security cooperation.

After returning from Iran, Sandberg was ordered to hand his work phone to Norway's domestic intelligence service to make sure it was not hacked.

Norway regularly lists Iran as one of the countries most likely to carry out espionage, alongside China and Russia.

Sandberg gave no reason why he breached government security protocols.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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