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Iran, Sweden complete prisoner swap

Iran and Sweden announced Saturday an exchange of prisoners with the release of two Swedes including a European Union diplomat and that of a former senior Iranian official.

The released prisoners were to return to their country, via Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, which served as an intermediary in the negotiations between Stockholm and Tehran, according to the Omani press agency ONA.

This exchange comes three days after the release of Frenchman Louis Arnaud, detained in Iran since September 2022.

Tehran is still holding eight European citizens. Their supporters proclaim their innocence and NGOs consider them to be “hostages” used to obtain the release of Iranians detained abroad. Iran says they are being detained under a court order.

Iran, Sweden complete prisoner swap

Sweden announced the release of Johan Floderus, an EU diplomat detained in Iran since April 2022, accused of espionage and facing the death penalty, and of Saeed Azizi, arrested in November 2023.

They are on the plane “and will finally find their loved ones” in Sweden, welcomed Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

He did not reveal the conditions of the exchange but described the decisions taken by his country as “difficult”.

After his release, Johan Floderus' father, Matts Floderus, told Swedish news agency TT that the family “was of course very happy.”

– “Shameful chapter” –

In Tehran, the head of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights, Kazem Gharibabadi, announced almost at the same time the release of Hamid Noury , former senior prison official.

“Noury, illegally detained in Sweden since 2019, is free”, he said.

Iran, Sweden complete prisoner swap

This 63-year-old Iranian was arrested in 2019 in Stockholm and then sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the mass executions of opponents ordered by Tehran in 1988.

Hamid Noury ​​arrived at Tehran airport late in the afternoon where he was greeted by members of his family as well as officials, including Mr. Gharibabadi, according to images from the state television.

He thanked Iranian officials and people for his release, and called the People's Mojahedin of Iran (MEK), an exiled opposition movement banned in Iran, “traitors who sold their country.” >

In Paris, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI, political showcase of the People's Mujahideen), considered that the release of Hamid Noury ​​was “shameful and unjustifiable”.

For Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam, director of the NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) based in Norway, the release of Mr. Noury ​​”marks a shameful chapter in the history of the Swedish government” .

– “Pawns” –

According to the spokesperson for Iranian Foreign Affairs, Nasser Kanani, the release of Noury ​​underlines “the power of Iranian diplomacy (…)”.

The prisoners' file has greatly strained relations between Sweden and Iran in recent years, which demanded the release of Hamid Noury ​​and criticized a biased trial.

< IMG Alt = "TT News Agency" src = "https://img-4.linternaute.com/ucqr9dwi3x9iv3hfmano9fc=/600x/smart/77b35bf198114245acb7025f97307157/ccmcms- 88.jpg " />Protest outside the Stockholm District Court during the trial of former senior Iranian prison service official Hamid Noury, November 23, 2021 in Sweden © TT NEWS AGENCY – Duygu GETIREN

Mr. Noury ​​was arrested in 2019 at Stockholm airport, where Iranian opponents claim to have lured him to allow his arrest, made possible by the extraterritoriality of the most serious crimes under Swedish law.

He was sentenced in July 2022 to life imprisonment for “aggravated crimes against international law” and “murder”, a first in the world for such acts.

Human rights groups estimate that at least 5,000 prisoners were executed in Iran in the summer of 1988 in mass sentences handed down by “death committees”.

“After 1,680 days of captivity, the efforts of our efficient and zealous leaders have paid off”, greeted the son of the ex-detainee, Majid Noury, on X.

According to Ulf Kristersson, Tehran had made Floderus and Azizi “pawns in a cynical negotiation game, with the aim of freeing Hamid Noury”.< /p>

Mr. Floderus was arrested on April 17, 2022 at Tehran airport while returning home after a trip to Iran. He was charged with “corruption on earth”, one of the most serious crimes in Iran and punishable by death, for allegedly conspiring with Israel, Tehran's sworn enemy.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, and the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, welcomed his release.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116