Iran has urged Sweden to take action against desecration of the Koran before considering the appointment of ambassadors, and requested the release of an Iranian national detained in Sweden, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday.
The head of Iranian diplomacy, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, discussed the issue with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, according to a ministry statement. “Regarding the exchange of ambassadors, we expect positive action from Sweden on the issue of the Holy Quran,” Mr. Amir-Abdollahian told Mr. Billstrom in New York, according to the statement.
In recent months, Sweden has been the scene of several desecrations of the Koran which have provoked indignation in the Muslim world. Stockholm condemned these actions while emphasizing the prevalence of freedom of expression and assembly on its soil. In response, Iran announced in July that it would not accredit the new Swedish ambassador.
On Tuesday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi brandished a copy of the Koran at the United Nations, asserting that “the fire of disrespect would not destroy divine truth.” Mr. Amir-Abdollahian told his Swedish counterpart that “defending Sweden’s values while ignoring those of two billion Muslims around the world is unacceptable.” He also called on Stockholm to release Hamid Noury, a former head of an Iranian prison convicted by a Stockholm court for “aggravated crimes against international law” and “murder”. “We hope that the Swedish government will make a wise and courageous decision at the appeal stage and release Mr. Noury,” the minister said, adding that “we are ready for positive and constructive cooperation in various fields.”
The press release does not mention Swedish nationals imprisoned in Iran, including European diplomat Johan Floderus, 33, detained in Tehran for more than 500 days for “crimes” in Iran.
In May, Tehran executed Iranian-Swedish dissident Habib Chaab, convicted of “corruption on earth”, one of the most serious charges in Iran, after his kidnapping in Turkey in October 2020. His hanging sparked an outcry in Sweden. Another Iranian-Swede, academic Ahmadreza Djalali, arrested in Iran in 2016 and sentenced to death on similar charges, remains under threat of execution.
Iran has executed 582 people in 2022, more than any other country except China, according to several NGOs.
This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com