Sweden supports the Iranian people’s demand for human rights

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Sweden and the rest of the EU have expressed clear support for the Iranians, especially women and girls, who are peacefully demonstrating for their human rights. Sweden has individually, and together with the other EU Member States, condemned the violence that the Iranian authorities have used against demonstrators. Sweden has also called for those responsible for the death of Mahsa Jina Amini to be held accountable. Moreover, the EU has imposed sanctions against responsible individuals and entities, and the UN Human Rights Council has held a special session in response to the violence and human rights violations.

The last two months have seen the Iranian authorities repeatedly use violence against peaceful demonstrators. According to human rights organisations, around 450 people have been killed, many more injured and more than 18 000 arrested.

Sweden and the EU call for an investigation and accountability

The Government takes a very serious view of the situation, as it has repeatedly conveyed to Iranian representatives at various levels, including in ministerial talks. The Embassy of Iran in Stockholm and the Embassy of Sweden in Tehran are important channels for conveying Sweden’s views on developments in Iran and for continuing to safeguard Swedish interests. In its talks with the Iranian Ambassador, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has raised a number of issues, including the ongoing developments in Iran.

The 27 EU Member States have also jointly called for accountability and for a credible investigation into the death of Mahsa Jina Amini and the lethal violence against demonstrators.

“The messages carry more weight when the Member States act in unison. We believe that the EU is the most effective platform for this work, and we are a driving force behind the condemnation of Iran and the sanctions,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström.

Sanctions against Iran

Since 2011, the EU has had sanctions in place against Iran in response to human rights violations. In October 2022, the EU imposed additional sanctions against people and entities responsible for the violence against demonstrators, and on 14 November, additional names and entities were added to the sanctions list. Sweden actively supported this process and considers it an important and resolute step. The sanctions include an EU travel ban and the freezing of assets. Together with the other Member States, Sweden is continuously reviewing the available tools with which to respond to further developments in Iran.

Special session of the Human Rights Council

On 24 November, the United Nations Human Rights Council held a special session focusing on the need for accountability for the violence and human rights violations. Sweden supported this demand for accountability. At the special session, the Council decided to establish an independent fact-finding mission to investigate Iran’s actions in conjunction with the protests.

During this special session, Sweden, together with the other Nordic countries and the Baltic countries, expressed its strong support for this fact-finding mechanism.