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European diplomat held in Iran prison for over a year

Swedish national Johan Floderus was in Iran on a tourist trip when he was detained at Tehran airport in April 2022
Johan Floderus
Sweden has urged Iran to free the 33-year-old EU diplomat Johan Floderus (social media)

A European diplomat of Swedish nationality has been detained in Iran for more than 500 days, Sweden and the European Union Commission have said.

The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, on Tuesday identified the diplomat as Johan Floderus, and said Brussels was pushing "relentlessly" to secure his release.

"Every time we had diplomatic meetings, at all levels, we have put the issue on the table... we will not stop until Floderus will be free," Borrell said.

Sweden on Monday confirmed a report by the New York Times that named Floredus, but refused to identify him by name to avoid complicating "the handling of the case if the [foreign] ministry were to publicly discuss its actions".

Stockholm urged Tehran to free the 33-year-old diplomat, who, it says, has been held arbitrarily since April 2022.

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Floderus works for the EU diplomatic corps, and has held several positions in the EU’s institutions.

He was in Iran on a private tourist trip with several Swedish friends when he was stopped from leaving Tehran and detained at the airport on 17 April 2022, the New York Times reported, quoting people familiar with the case.

In July last year, Iran said it had detained a Swedish national on spying charges, two weeks after Stockholm sentenced an Iranian to life in prison for his role in the government's 1988 mass executions of thousands of opponents, prompting Tehran to recall its envoy to Sweden.

Former Iranian prison head Hamid Noury was found guilty of "aggravated crimes against international law" and "murder". 

"The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Sweden in Tehran are working very intensively on the case and are maintaining close contact with the EU," the Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

When asked about the report, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said he was not aware of it, according to Reuters.

In May, Iran released Belgian humanitarian worker Olivier Vandecasteele after 15 months in prison on charges of espionage, in a prisoner swap for Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, who was convicted of planning a failed bomb attack on an exiled opposition groups in France.

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