Iran, Sweden Initial Five Documents of Cooperation
Iran has had relatively good relations with neutral Sweden which has
over the years been often critical of the foreign policy of the United
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven visited Tehran at the head of a
high-ranking political and economic delegation (Feb. 11-13).
Lofven was officially welcomed by the Iranian Chief Executive Hassan Rouhani
who said the European Union should buttress the bloc’s banking relations
with Iran so as to optimize the opportunities provided by the 2015 nuclear
Rouhani made the remarks at a joint press conference with visiting Swedish
prime minister. He also said the country favored better banking transactions
The comments came as fear of potential US punitive measures continue to
dissuade European banks and firms from fully availing themselves of the
chances created by the agreement.
The nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was
signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, namely the US,
the UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany. It lifted nuclear-related
sanctions on Iran, offering big opportunities for foreign businesses. The
previous American administration had “verbally” encouraged the European
institutions to restore their monetary ties with Iran, but Washington’s
far-reaching clout over the international economy has largely prohibited
Rouhani also hailed Sweden’s “moderate” approach vis-à-vis Iran, which he
said was maintained even when Tehran was under sanctions over its nuclear
The visit by the Swedish premier also featured the two sides signing five
documents of cooperation. The documents enabled cooperation in the areas of
innovation and technology, higher education and research, road construction,
communication and information technology, and family and women’s affairs.
Rouhani said, “The visit by the Swedish prime minister signifies the two
countries’ serious will to develop bilateral ties and consult toward easing
tensions in the region as well as international peace and stability.” The
countries are determined to have the level of bilateral ties restored to the
pre-sanctions era, he said.
Löfven, for his part, said he was “very proud” of the historic nature of his
visit. He added that the ranking of his accompanying delegation indicated
the importance his country attached to Iran and to relations with the
Islamic Republic. He also announced that his visit was to be followed by
several more high-level trips by Swedish officials to Iran.
The delegation included CEOs of companies like Scania, Ericsson, Elekta,
Volvo, ABB, Sensys Gatso Group, Swedish Energy Agency, Swedish Environmental
Protection Agency and Swedish Post and Telecom Authority, along with Danske
Bank and EKN (Swedish export credit agency.)
Swedish Credit Lines for Iran
After a meeting with the Swedish Minister for European Affairs and Trade
Anne Linde, Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology
Mahmoud Vaezi announced that two Swedish banks will allocate credit lines to
Iranian companies in the field of communications and information technology.
“Our trade volume witnessed a leap last year to reach €250 million and this
process will continue in the technology development sector,” Vaezi said.
Back in 2003 and 2004, Iran was the 21st and 28th exporter to Sweden
respectively, though in 2005, it was not among the top 30 exporters to this
During the years when sanctions blocked Iran’s foreign relations, trade with
Sweden shrunk to 25% of what it used to be, dropping from $1.1 billion to
Nematzadeh, Linde Call for Enhanced Trade Ties
Also meeting with Linde was Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade
Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh who urged Swedish companies to share their markets
He also said doors were open for any cooperation with Sweden and there are
no obstacles from the Iranian side for increased cooperation. “We welcome
Swedish investors in the Iranian market and want the private sectors of the
two countries cooperate with each other.”
Leader Says Sweden Has Good Name among Iranians
Iran’s Supreme Leader said the United States and Western powers are regarded
with suspicion in the Middle East because of their interference, but that
Sweden has a good name among Iranians and is seen as a reputable economic
Iran has had relatively good relations with neutral Sweden which has over
the years been often critical of the foreign policy of the United States.
“America and many European powers have played a role in causing traumatic
events in Syria and Iraq, and the people of the region are aware of this
interference and are rightly skeptical,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said at a
meeting with Lofven.
“Due to its long relationship with Iran, Sweden is a country with a good
reputation in the eyes of our people, and the optimism of nations towards
each other will be fertile ground for developing cooperation,” Ayatollah
Khamenei was quoted as saying.
The Leader said many agreements Iran had signed with foreign countries had
not been realized, expressing hope that would not also be the case with
“We know you to be a man of action and hope you will act in a way so the
accords do not just stay on paper,” Ayatollah Khamenei told the Swedish
Lofven said the
talks addressed “economic relations and important regional problems, and we
will try to implement the agreements”.