Swedish PM and delegation finish weekend diplomatic tour in Iran; Meetings held between Löfven, Rouhani and Khamenei; 5 memorandums of understanding signed
Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven finished a diplomatic tour in Iran Sunday, the governments of Sweden and Iran signing five memorandums of understanding.
Sweden’s Prime Minister was accompanied by a delegation of diplomats and MP’s, including Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde , who all met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, their meeting centered on establishing and creating stronger economic ties between Iran and Sweden. Rouhani stated on the meeting “Sweden and Iran determined to reach the pre-sanction’s level of economic cooperation especially via EGFI [Export Guarantee Fund of Iran] and expansion of banking relations.”
Five memorandums of understanding were signed in the areas of research, infrastructure, technology, IT and family and women affairs. Sweden and Iran’s Minister of Science and Research Mohamamd Farhadi also signed a cooperative agreement in higher education.
Iran was one of Sweden’s most significant trading partners prior to sanctions placed on the Islamic Republic. As Sweden resumes its strong trade and economic ties with Iran, Minister Linde stated on the lifting of sanctions as part of the nuclear deal, “Lifting of the sanctions has presented new opportunities for both sides and the decision for opening our trade office in Tehran indicates our determination for long-term cooperation.”
One of the most significant deals made with Iran was by Sweden’s transportation company Scania, which remained in the country during sanctions. Scania will reportedly sell 1,350 buses to Iran, deals to average in close to $336 million this year alone. Scania’s CEO, Henrik Henriksson, stated on business with Iran following sanctions and new sanctions recently placed by the Trump Administration “It is no secret that it is difficult to do business. Channels must be opened if the market is really to take off.”
Löfven also met with Iran’s Supreme Ruler of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khamenei stating to the Prime Minister that Iran knows him “to be a man of action and hope you will act in a way so the accords do not just stay on paper.” Khamenei stated on Swedish-Iranian relations “Due to its longtime relations with Iran, Sweden is a reputable country in the eyes of our people, and this optimism that the two nations have toward each other will serve as a good ground for further development of cooperation.”
Addressing Sweden’s role in the United Nations as President of the Security Council and as a non-permanent membership as of January, Khamenei stated “The Security Council is an important potentiality, which is unfortunately held hostage by some big powers. At the same time, however, efforts can be made through a constructive role [of its members] to prevent this institution from enforcing double standards.” He claimed the US and some European states have contributed to “bitter events in Syria and Iraq, stating “The US and many European powers have played a role in creating bitter events in Syria and Iraq, and being aware of these interventions, regional people are correctly suspicious of them.”