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Iran and Sweden complete prisoner exchange

Iran and Sweden have completed a prisoner swap, according to the Oman government, which mediated the process.

Citizens from both countries were flown to Muscat, the capital of the small state on the Persian Gulf, on Saturday.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson confirmed that two Swedish citizens were on their way home.

According to information from Tehran, Hamid N., who was sentenced to life in prison in Sweden in the late 1980s for mass executions of political prisoners in Iran, was released. The Iranian, 63, was sentenced in Stockholm in July 2022.

There was no confirmation of this from Stockholm. Kristersson said only that Iran had turned the two Swedes into “a pawn in a cynical negotiation game aimed at freeing Iranian citizen Hamid N.” from Swedish custody.

EU worker Johan Floderus and Said Asisi, who were sentenced to five years in prison in Iran, have been released by Tehran, Kristersson said. At least one other Swedish citizen, doctor Ahmad Resa Jalali, remains in an Iranian prison.

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EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell welcomed their release on X on Saturday.

“We are pleased with the news of the liberation of EU colleague and citizen Johan Floderus and his compatriot Saeed Azizi. We thank the Swedish and Omani authorities,” the EU’s top diplomat said.

“Other EU citizens continue to be arbitrarily detained in Iran. We will continue to work together with the EU Member States concerned for their freedom,” he added, referring to the member states. Borrell the Swedish and Omani authorities.

Prisoner exchanges were promptly criticized

Mariam Claren, daughter of the German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi, who was imprisoned in the infamous Iranian Ewin prison, expressed her shock on the X platform.

“Let me be clear,” she wrote, “I am happy for the freed hostages and their families. But what message has the EU sent to Tehran? More people will be taken hostage, hostages left behind could be executed. And most people will be held hostage. Important: what a slap in the face to the families of Nouri’s victims.”

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Oman has made a name for itself as the ‘Switzerland of the Middle East’ and tries to support political conflicts in the region as a neutral player. For example, the country has mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and in talks between the West and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program.

Relations between Sweden and Iran had recently cooled significantly due to the diplomatic affairs. In May last year, Tehran executed a Swedish-Iranian dissident accused of terrorist activities. Critics had repeatedly accused Iran of trying to free Hamid N. by jailing Swedish citizens.

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