Sweden summons Israeli ambassador over Iran sanctions rumor

Sweden summons Israeli ambassador over Iran sanctions rumor

Foreign Minister Bildt characterizes as ‘mud-slinging’ an Israeli report accusing Stockholm of opposing new measures

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt (photo credit: Ahmad Gharabli /Flash90)
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt (photo credit: Ahmad Gharabli /Flash90)

Stockholm on Monday summoned Israeli Ambassador Isaac Bachman to protest the publication of a Haaretz report on Sunday in which an Israeli official claimed business interests had motivated Sweden’s opposition to new EU sanctions against Iran.

A Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Bachman was scheduled to meet ministry officials on Monday afternoon to discuss the statements made by an anonymous Foreign Ministry official in Haaretz.

In an interview with the Swedish press on Monday, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt criticized the report as “mudslinging” and said he would “react quite sharply against Israel.”

“This is not how I think mature nations should interact with each other,” he said.

Haaretz reported on Sunday that Sweden opposed new sanctions for “fear that if the deal between Ericsson and Iran is canceled, this could have implications for the company’s other deals.” Ericsson is the third largest corporate employer in Sweden, and is the country’s second largest in terms of annual turnover.

The paper claimed the information was provided by a senior Foreign Ministry official, citing officials of multiple EU states.

The Foreign Ministry was investigating the details of the report, according to Israel Radio.

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