Letter to the Prime Minister of Sweden

June 18, 2024

Honorable Ulf Hjalmar Kristersson
Prime Minister of Sweden
Herkulesgatan 17
SE-103 33
Stockholm, Sweden

Honorable Prime Minister Kristersson,

The arrest of Hamid Nouri in November 2019 by Swedish authorities under the Laws of Universal Jurisdiction, followed by his trial in the Stockholm District Court for serious crimes against human rights according to International Law, was a beacon of hope for millions of Iranians. The Iranian people have endured nearly half a century of brutality at the hands of the jihadist Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI) that has taken the lives of countless young men and women with impunity. Nouri’s sentencing to life imprisonment in July 2022 and the subsequent upholding of that verdict by the Svea Court of Appeal in December 2023 brought much-needed relief to many Iranians who had lost loved ones to the brutal actions of Nouri and other perpetrators within the Islamic Republic.

Regrettably, this sense of justice and relief was abruptly diminished by your decision to exchange Nouri for two Swedish hostages, wasting valuable resources of Sweden’s justice system which was used through more than 90 court trial sessions. While we understand that this decision was likely driven by a deep concern for the well-being of the Swedish hostages, it has, unfortunately, had serious unintended consequences. Your decision has potentially increased the risk to Swedish citizens, as it signals to the IRI criminals in Tehran that Sweden capitulates to the pressure of hostage-taking.

The adverse impact of negotiating with hostage-takers in Tehran is further exacerbated by the fact that other Swedish hostages currently remain in Iran, notably Ahmadreza Djalali, who is under a death sentence. Should he be executed, the Swedish government, and you in particular, will be held accountable in the court of public opinion.

Your government’s misguided decision conveys to the terrorist regime in Iran that not only their policy of hostage-taking does yield results, but that IRI can also dictate the terms of these hostage exchanges to their advantage.

We hope that future policies of your government will consider the broader implications of negotiating with regimes that use hostage-taking as a tool of coercion. Ensuring the safety and well-being of citizens should remain paramount, but it is also crucial to adopt strategies that deter such criminal behavior rather than encouraging it.


Dr. Iman Foroutan
Chairman of the Board and Executive Director
The New Iran