The Swedish parliament will cut all bilateral ties with Iran in a show of solidarity with Israel, it was reported today.
Sweden's ambassador to Tel Aviv, Robert Rydberg, confirmed a report by the Jerusalem Post.
The move came in response to a letter sent out by the speaker of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Reuven Rivlin.
In the letter, delivered to the heads of more than 80 parliaments around the world by local ambassadors, Rivlin asked for support for Israel following a number of deeply controversial anti-Israel comments made by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Not only did Ahmadinejad last month call for Israel to be “wiped off the map” at a conference of a student group entitled “The World Without Zionism”, but this month he reiterated these calls, denied the Holocaust and said Europe should create a state for the Jews instead of Israel.
Ahmadinejad’s comments drew widespread condemnation from political leaders throughout the world who expressed their continuing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.
But the decision by Swedish parliament speaker Bjorn Van Sydow to break bilateral ties is one of the strongest moves yet.
“In recent years Iran has not merely settled for verbal attacks on Israel, Zionism and the Jewish people. It has been unrelenting in its efforts to achieve nuclear military capability and has funded, supplied and provided operational guidance to several major terrorist organizations,” Rivlin is reported to have written in the letter sent out at the start of November.
“I strongly feel that due to the severity of this statement, a worldwide parliamentary reaction is called for,” he added.
Right to exist
In his reply, Van Sydow spoke of the importance of defending Israel’s right to exist.
“Although being restricted by constitutional limitations to act in matters of foreign policies, I can assure you that I will use every opportunity I have to condemn such statements,” he wrote.
“I have made sure that we cease all bilateral contacts with the Iranian parliament. I am willing to defend the rights of Israel to exist as strongly as I defend the rights of my own country to exist,” he added.
Rivlin’s letter was part of a new initiative to strengthen ties between Israel and foreign parliaments.
Interviewed by EJP, Sweden's ambassador to Tel Aviv, Robert Rydberg, declared : "It is a very strong and clear statement from the speaker of the Swedish parliament. It doesn’t surprise me in the sense that reactions in Sweden to the declarations (of Iran’s president) have been very hard and strong and also the Swedish government condemned.”
“It is a significant and a clear reaction which I think expresses the outrage that the speaker and Swedish parliamentarians and people feel about that type of state,” he added.
“I think it is important to come out with clear statements when such threats are expressed, especially when it comes from the highest political levels in a state in the region.”
“Sweden’s support for the right of Israel to exist in peace and security has been a constant feature of Swedish foreign policy and in that sense nothing has changed as far as our approach is concerned,” the ambassador said.
I must say, the Swedish politicians do their best to make sure that the once officially non-alligned Sweden will be involved in this "war on terror", the last year or so quite a lot have come in the light showing that Sweden bows down quite heavily for the might of USA... and Israel.
Originally Posted by duck
It's a step in the exactly wrong direction. The hardliners in Iran are hoping for this to happen to fortify their position inside Iran.
Iran have a parliament with the power to get rid of the president, and the Iranian parliament and the president are already on a collission course, since his extreme views are somewhat controversial in Iran as well, well other countries cutting the ties with Iran is an example of that. It's also said that the Iranian economy is already suffering under the leadership of this rather radical president since the main export of Iran is their oil, and if someone doesn't want to buy their oil, it's kind of bad for Iran.
The Iranian parliament have got rid of presidents in the past and it could very well happen again. Perhaps that is what countries like Sweden is hoping will happen now, and that a somewhat more moderate president will take his place.
Some of the Mullahs and the current Iranian Prez want nothing more than to isolate the country from the outside world. The weird statements are all part of that plan as they need to create a us vs. them situation to keep the students from staging another rebellion.