Iran Continues Pattern Of Leveraging Western Hostages To Accomplish Political Aims 

(New York, N.Y.) — With the execution of Iranian-Swedish disaster medicine researcher Ahmadreza Djalali set to occur on or before May 21, Tehran has brazenly detained a second Swedish citizen traveling as a tourist in Iran, and potentially two more European nationals as well. The impending execution and recent detentions come as Sweden nears conclusion of its own trial of Iranian national Hamid Nouri on charges of crimes against humanity and as the deputy secretary-general of the EU’s European External Action Service Enrique Mora visits Iran this week. Amid increasing tensions between Sweden and the Islamic Republic, an Iranian judiciary spokesperson stated that no offer of a prisoner exchange would be considered and that Djalali’s sentence would be carried out. 

“The Iranian regime’s threat to execute Ahmadreza Djalali and its most recent move to detain more European nationals are simply more examples of its heinous proclivity to take hostages to use as political leverage to accomplish its goals,” said UANI senior advisor, founding member of Hostage Aid Worldwide, and survivor of the Iran hostage crisis Barry Rosen. “Given Sweden’s position within the European Union, EU Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora must press Tehran on Djalali’s imminent execution during his visit this week to the Islamic Republic – it is a moral imperative to confront this outrageous extortion.”

Djalali has been held hostage by Iran since 2016 on trumped up charges of espionage following his forced confession, televised in Iran. Sweden has demanded his release multiple times but has been met with consistent refusals by the Iranian regime. In addition to Djalali and the other European nationals detained over the last few weeks, Iran holds Americans and other Westerners hostage, particularly persons who also hold Iranian citizenship.

To read United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)’s resource Hostages in Iran, please click here.