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Iranian diplomat accused of feeling up young girls at Brazilian swimming pool

Brazil: Iranian official arrested for Humbert Humbert-like behavior.

Iran brazil april 2012Enlarge
A demonstrator raises a shoe during a protest against the last visit of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Brasilia, while he met then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (not in frame) on November 23, 2009. (Felipe Barra/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazilian authorities arrested an Iranian diplomat at a swimming pool in Brazil after parents accused him of touching their young daughters in underwater frolics, The Wall Street Journal reported today

Police arrested the official on in Brasilia on Saturday, said WSJ, but after learning that he was a diplomat turned him over to the local Iranian embassy. His current whereabouts are unknown. 

Officials told WSJ that diplomatic immunity prevented them from releasing the name of the accused, but Brazil's O Globo news website said it was Hekmatollah Ghorbani.

The girls told their parents that the diplomat, who was reportedly paddling around the pool duck-diver-style, tried to touch them inappropriately when he dipped underwater, according WSJ.

After the girls informed their parents, some were so furious that they threatened the diplomat with violence, said WSJ and O Globo

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Witnesses told WSJ that four girls were targeted, while O Globo listed as many as ten, all between the ages of nine and 15. 

The diplomat's quick release has set off a storm of outrage in Brazil, according to WSJ

O Globo said such a charge would normally carry an eight-to-15 year sentence. Local official told WSJ that the accused, who denies doing anything inappropriate, could be tried in the Islamic Republic. 

Brazil and Iran have historically had fairly close relations but seem to have drifted slightly apart under Brazil's current president Dilma Rousseff, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opting out of a visit there during his most recent Latin America tour, said WSJ

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/brazil/120418/iranian-diplomat-accused-feeling-young-girls-at-brazili