On Tuesday, the Islamic Republic of Iran judiciary confirmed that a Swedish national working for the European Union (E.U.) had been detained.
According to reports, Islamic Republic judiciary spokesperson Massoud Setayeshi said the investigation was “being finalized, and the case will be sent to the competent court in the days ahead with the final decision of the prosecutor’s office.” Setayeshi added that the Swede was sent “to prison with a legal order.”
A few days ago, the E.U. said Swedish diplomat Johan Floderus, a 33-year-old employed by the bloc, was detained in Iran for more than 500 days.
“It is both unconscionable and a violation of the Geneva Convention for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take a foreign diplomat hostage,” said Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department official under the Trump administration.
Josep Borrell, the E.U.’s top diplomat, said last week that the bloc had been pushing “relentlessly” for his release. The Swedish government has also called on Iran to free Floderus.
Relations between Sweden and Iran have been heightened since Sweden arrested a former Islamic Republic official for his part in the mass execution and torture of political prisoners in the 1980s. The official was sentenced to life in prison in 2022, prompting Iran to recall its envoy to Sweden in protest.
“I can’t say it’s a huge surprise coming from a regime whose founding act was the taking of 52 American diplomats’ hostage. It is surprising and disturbing that the European Union would hide this detention from their citizens for so long while they were trying to negotiate a controversial deal with Iranian regime,” Noronha told The Foreign Desk.
“The E.U.’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell has a lot to answer for,” he added.
In May, Tehran executed a Swedish-Iranian dissident convicted of leading an Arab separatist group Tehran blames for several attacks, including one on a military parade in 2018 that killed 25 people.
Today, the Ayatollahs in Tehran continue to kidnap Western officials in exchange for billions of dollars. Despite releasing several American hostages in exchange for $6 billion, experts say Tehran will continue to engage in hostage diplomacy to assist its Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and terrorist proxies against Americans and allies in the Middle East.
On Monday, new details emerged of an imminent prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran, with the State Department acknowledging it would release several Iranian officials. Of the individuals named by Iran, several are without American citizenship: Afrasiabi, Ansari, Hasanzadeh, and Kafrani. Afrasiabi and Hasanzadeh are permanent American residents, while Ansari and Kafrani have no legal status in the U.S. The fifth Iranian individual, Kashani, is an Iranian American dual national.