Sweden summons Israeli envoy over Iran report

Sweden seeks clarification about report that Sweden trying to prevent EU sanctions on Iran for economic considerations.

October 16, 2012 00:35
1 minute read.
Iranian handles money at bazaar

Iranian handles money at bazaar 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Sweden’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador Isaac Bachman to a meeting in Stockholm on Monday, seeking clarification about a report that Sweden was trying to prevent further EU sanctions against Iran because of economic considerations.

Sweden was concerned the sanctions would endanger a lucrative deal between its mammoth communications company Ericsson and Iran, the Haaretz report said on Sunday.

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A Foreign Ministry official said that Bachman clarified that the report was based on an “unauthorized, anonymous official,” and that it did not represent Israeli government policy.

One Israeli official familiar with the matter said of the Swedish summons of the ambassador that “things are never as painful as when they are true.”

According to the report, pressure from inside the EU was placed on the Swedish government over the past week to drop its opposition to the ratcheted-up sanctions, with some of the pressure aimed directly at Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

According to Haaretz, “Israeli diplomats said that several European officials have wondered about any personal interests Bildt might hold in Iran that could cause him to object to sanctions.”

Not long after Bachman was called in, Bildt tweeted from the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg that there was “great concern among EU FM’s about continued Israeli occupation and settlement activities as well as total standstill in peace process.”

Some observers in Jerusalem wondered aloud whether this tweet might – like the summons of Bachman – have been related to Bildt’s anger over the newspaper report.

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