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Sweden and Iran Dispute

Published torsdag 6 mars 2008 kl 17.00
Carl Bildt

A silent diplomatic dispute between Sweden and Iran is revealed to have been taking place during the past few months.

According to Swedish newspaper, Expressen, a Swedish diplomat was asked to leave Iran’s capital, Teheran, at the end of February.

The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs have confirmed this. The Ministry added that at the beginning of this year Sweden had similarly asked an Iranian diplomat to leave the country. According to news agency TT, a source at the Foreign Ministry says the Iranian had been suspected of spying on refugees.

Relations between the two countries had already become strained earlier in the week after a leading figure in the Iranian women’s movement, Parvin Ardalan, was taken off an aeroplane in Tehran and had a her passport confiscated by Iranian authorities on Monday.

She was due to accept the Olof Palme prize here in Stockholm on Thursday. The prize is given in honour of Sweden’s ex-prime minister who was assassinated 22 years ago.

Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, added to his previous criticisms of Iran saying he received the news that Ardalan was not allowed to travel to Sweden with great disappointment. He went on to say that the event was only one in a row of examples that show respect for human rights in Iran are continuing to deteriorate.

The prize was accepted by Ardalan’s sister Shirin.

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