Sweden and Iran exchange prisoners in breakthrough deal

AFP / Ludovic Marin

Sweden and Iran carried out a prisoner exchange on Saturday, mediated by Oman, with Sweden freeing a former Iranian official, Hamid Noury, who was convicted for his role in a mass execution in the 1980s.

Oman's foreign ministry said in a statement. "Omani efforts resulted in the two sides agreeing on a mutual release, as those released were transferred from Tehran and Stockholm," it said.

Separately, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a statement that Swedish citizens Johan Floderus and Saeed Azizi, who had been detained in Iran, were on a plane back to Sweden.

"As prime minister, I have a special responsibility for Swedish citizens' safety. The government has therefore worked intensively on the issue, together with the Swedish security services which have negotiated with Iran."

Kristersson confirmed in a video released by the government that Noury was now being transported back to Iran. Kristersson declined to give further details around the considerations, citing security concerns.

Noury, 63, was arrested at a Stockholm airport in 2019 and later sentenced to life in prison for war crimes for the mass execution and torture of political prisoners at the Gohardasht prison in Karaj, Iran, in 1988. He denied the charges.

Floderus, a European Union employee, was arrested in Iran in 2022 and charged with spying for Israel and "corruption on earth", a crime that carries the death penalty.

Swedish-Iranian dual national Saeed Azizi was arrested in Iran in November 2023 on what Sweden called "wrongful grounds."

Another Swedish-Iranian dual national, Ahmadreza Djalali, arrested in 2016, remains in an Iranian jail. An emergency medicine doctor, Djalali, was arrested in 2016 while on an academic visit to Iran.


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