Iran arrests two European nationals for ‘fomenting chaos’

TEHRAN: Iran has arrested two European nationals for allegedly “fomenting chaos and social disorder,” without revealing their nationalities.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Intelligence Ministry said the detainees had been sent by “foreign conspirators” to carry out destabilising activities in the country.

The two arrested men, it said, had “expertise in creating riots and instability” and had previously “trained local agents” in several countries over the years, without divulging further details.

The ministry said it will soon disclose the audio and video documents related to the activities of the two individuals.

The development comes amid growing tensions between Iran and some European countries such as Sweden and Belgium over arrests and jailing of Iranian diplomats, which had prompted Sweden recently to issue an advisory to its citizens against traveling to Iran.

Last month, a court in Stockholm upheld the sentencing of former Iranian judiciary official Hamid Nouri, accused of alleged involvement in the execution of political dissidents in 1988.

Nouri, who has been in incarceration since 2019, faces a life sentence in prison.

Iran has strongly denounced the sentence and called for the immediate release of Nouri, but the Swedish government maintains that it cannot influence decisions taken by the country’s courts.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the detention and trial of Hamid Nouri, an Iranian citizen, illegal and demands his immediate release,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde last week.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry also summoned the Swedish ambassador to Tehran last week, calling Nouri’s detention “politically motivated” and allegations against him “baseless and fabricated.”

Nouri’s trial in Sweden has coincided with the trial of Iranian-Swedish national Ahmad-Reza Jalali in Iran, who is accused of espionage for Israel.

Iran’s apex court recently upheld the death sentence against him and he is most likely to be executed on May 21, according to reports.

In between, there have also been reports about the arrest of a Swedish citizen in Iran recently, as reported by Swedish media.

Aftonbladet media outlet said last week that the man was part of a group of tourists. There has been no comment from Iranian officials.

Tensions between Iran and Sweden are expected to rise if Nouri is handed a life term and if Jalali is executed as planned, according to experts.

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