Swedish Prime Minister Reminded of Political Prisoners in Tehran

As the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven prepares for his February 11-12 visit to Tehran he is facing pushback from Iranians that are urging Sweden not to overlook human rights violations while pursuing business interests in that country. A number of open letters have been published by Iranian activists about dire conditions for political prisoners in Iran. It will remain to be seen if Lofven will push the issue while in Tehran. One of such political prisoners is the Iranian-Swedish Ahmadreza Jalali, an expert in disaster relief who was arrested by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry in April 2016. His alleged crime is said to be “collaboration with enemy states,” although the Iranian state has provided no evidence. In protest, Jalili has been on hunger strike.

Swedish press are reporting that Prime Minister Lofven is to hold talks on “bilateral cooperation and developments in the region.” Lofven has made it clear that with the removal of international sanctions against Iran a host of Swedish industries are interested in having access to the Iranian market. Lofven is expected to travel to Tehran with a large number of business representatives. However, not only is Lofven faced with anger from Iranian human rights and civil society groups but even Swedish opposition parties have called on him to raise the issue of Iranian human rights violations while he is in Tehran. Meanwhile, just this last week the Iranian embassy in Copenhagen was broken into by Iranian anti-regime activists that wanted to highlight Iranian human rights violations.