EU calls on Iran to release Swedish diplomat Johan Floderus after trial begins

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell demands Iran immediately release Floderus

Swedish EU diplomat Johan Floderus attends a court session in Tehran on December 10, 2023. AFP
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Top EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Sunday renewed calls on Iran to free a Swedish diplomat following the beginning of his trial in Tehran.

On April 17, 2022, Johan Floderus as arrested at Tehran airport as he was returning home from a trip with friends.

Following his arrest, the 33-year-old Swede, who works for the European Union diplomatic service, was transferred to Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Saturday that the trial had begun.

"The EU continues to call for Johan Floderus to be freed immediately," Mr Borrell said.

"I persistently raise the case at every occasion and contact with the Iranian authorities, since his detention, requesting his liberation," he said.

"We are seeking clarification and more information from them, in closest coordination with the Swedish authorities who bear the consular responsibility," he added.

Iran's judiciary said in September Floderus had "committed crimes" in the country.

But Mr Borrell said the diplomat was "innocent", adding: "There are absolutely no grounds for keeping Johan Floderus in detention."

Several governments, human rights groups and families of foreign passport holders being held by Iran say it is pursuing a tactic of "hostage diplomacy" in efforts to extract concessions from other countries.

Updated: December 11, 2023, 5:26 AM