Iran recalls ambassador to Sweden over court decision

Iran recalls its Ambassador from Sweden to protest life sentence for ex-prison guard Hamid Noury who was found guilty of involvement in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners

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Iran’s state TV said Thursday the country’s foreign ministry recalled its ambassador from Sweden after an Iranian citizen was sentenced to life by a Swedish court for committing war crimes and murder during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The report quoted ministry spokesman Naser Kanani as saying the ambassador took the action for some “consultation” over the life sentence for Hamid Noury earlier this month.

The Stockholm District Court said that Noury took part in severe atrocities in July and August 1988 while working as an assistant to the deputy prosecutor at the Gohardasht prison outside the Iranian city of Karaj.

The court said 61-year-old Noury participated “in the executions of many political prisoners” in Iran that summer.

Throughout the trial, Noury denied wrongdoing and Iran called the court a “show” based on political motives.

The development comes at a tense time for ties between Stockholm and Tehran. A number of Europeans were detained in Iran in recent months, including a Swedish tourist, two French citizens, a Polish scientist and others.

The detentions aroused concerns that Iran hoped to leverage the prisoners as bargaining chips to pressure the United States and European nations to grant the sanctions relief it received under its tattered 2015 nuclear accord.

Noury was arrested in November 2019 when he arrived in Stockholm on a tourist trip.

In a separate development, Iran summoned Argentine’s charge d’affaires in Tehran because of the travel ban that Buenos Aires imposed on five Iranian flight crew members after their plane landed in an airport of the south American nation in June.

Prosecutors in Argentina said they launched investigations to figure out whether the crew members — 14 Venezuelans and five Iranians — have any ties to international terrorism or other illicit activity.

Iran denies the charge and consider the travel ban a violation of rights of the crew.