The Norwegian Police Security Service (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste, PST) has asked the country's Ministry of Justice to consider the expulsion of a cleric serving at Imam Ali Shi'ite Center in the capital city, Oslo.
PST believes that the cleric threatens Norway's security, and his residence in Oslo is against the country's fundamental national interests.
Although the cleric's name has not yet been revealed, Radio Farda's investigations show that he might be the Iranian black-turbaned Sayyid Mostafa Motahari.
Meanwhile, there have been reports on Motahari's interaction with the Islamic Republic's fearsome Intelligence Ministry. In an exclusive report on the case, the Norwegian Radio Television, NRK, has not mentioned the cleric's name and blurred his face in several pictures.
NRK admits that it is difficult to find online pictures and clues related to the mysterious Imam.
However, NRK has referred to a 2016 interview conducted in Persian in Iran where the un-named cleric is presented as the Imam of a mosque in Oslo.
During the interview, the cleric underlines Europeans' affection toward the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In the same interview, conducted by the Hawza (Shi'ites Seminary) website, the black-turbaned interviewee boasts about European youth traveling to Iran and participating in the Shi'ites' ceremony of Arba'een, annually held in Karbala, Iraq.
Radio Farda's investigation shows that Seyyed Mostafa Motahhari gave an interview to the Hawza news agency on November 22, 2016, entitled "Imam of the Imam Ali Islamic Center of Norway," and made the same remarks reflected in NRK's report.
One of PST's reasons for the Iranian cleric's expulsion, NRK reports, is a connection between the Imam and a Norwegian-Iranian who is convicted and imprisoned in Denmark.
The Norwegian-Iranian was found guilty of espionage for the Islamic Republic's intelligence services and collaboration to kill an Iranian dissident on Danish soil. Although the assassination plot was not carried out, the suspect is now behind bars in a Danish prison.
On Friday, June 26, 2020, a Danish court sentenced a Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin to seven years in jail after convicting him of spying for an Iranian intelligence service and collaboration in a suspected plot to kill an Iranian Arab opposition figure in Denmark, wires reported at the time.
According to Reuters, Mohammad Davoudzadeh Loloei, a forty-year-old Norwegian with Iranian heritage, was arrested in October 2018 after a major police operation.
For several days in late September that year, Loloei observed and took photos of the home of an Iranian exile in Denmark, as well as the streets and roads surrounding the house, Roskilde District Court said in a statement.
Based on NRK's report, PST believes that the head of Imam Ali's Shi'ite Center in Oslo is accused of being connected to the case of the Norwegian-Iranian Mohammad Davoudzadeh Loloei.
Radio Farda's investigations show that before moving to Norway, Mostafa Motahari worked in Iran as the Director of International Affairs at the Dar al-Hadith Scientific and Cultural Institute, which is intricately connected to the office of the Islamic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
An examination of the activities of numerous religious and cultural institutions in Iran shows that networks consisting of intelligence agents and figures active or affiliated with Khamenei's office and Shiite clerics in other countries are cooperating and working together.
The Imam Ali Center in Oslo and the Islamic Center of "Tawhid" are the two most important Shi'ite centers in Norway. The Imam Ali Center was established in 2005. It offers various religious and political programs and educational classes focusing on children and women throughout the year.
Based on NRK's report, the mosque receives about 600,000 kroner (more than $66,000) in state subsidies, and it has 632 members.