Sweden Calls in Iran Ambassador

Sweden has summoned the Iranian ambassador to its Foreign Ministery to protest against the mass trials of election demonstrators in Iran, which have now broadened out to include a French citizen and employees of the French and US embassies.

Sweden currently holds the presidency of the European union - and some say that Iran is challenging the whole EU head-on.

The root cause of the trial is last month's protests against the Iranian presidential election - many Iranians feel that the vote was rigged to favour the establishment candidate, President Ahmadinejad. The USA and many EU countries expressed anger over the quashing of anti-government demonstrations, and now Iran is putting British and French embassy people on trial, for alledged crimes that include reporting to their government on the street protests.

This is basically spying, says the Iranian government

Foreign minister Carl Bildt spoke to Swedish Radio News and said that they would take further steps if necessary.

"We called the Iranian ambassador to the Foreign Ministery, to reiterate and to reinforce the this message, and say what measures we expect from their side, in this and in other issues."

"We absolutely refuse to accept that EU employees, or EU citizens are brought into public trials to face such fictional charges. We see it as totally unacceptable."

"We are ready to take further steps if need be. In consultation with all 27 EU member countries, of course. But I think that the Iranian authorities are aware that we are prepared to go further."

But Minister Bildt would not say what such 'further steps' would involved.

Sahid Mahmoudi, an Iranian expert on international law at Stockholm University said he was very surprised that Sweden had waited until Monday to call in the Iranian ambassador.

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