Sweden and the European Union are responsible for securing EU official Johan Floderus’ release from an Iranian prison, European Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Tuesday.
“Sweden and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for securing his release. But the EU also has an employer’s responsibility and the EU has an opportunity to exert pressure,” Johansson told Sweden’s national public broadcaster SVT on Tuesday. She added she had raised the issue with Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs chief.
On Tuesday, Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, confirmed the 33-year-old Swedish citizen who works for the EU’s diplomatic corps has been held captive in Iran’s Evin prison for more than 500 days.
Johansson — who was Floderus’ boss for one-and-a-half years — first found out he was imprisoned in Iran last spring. “I was extremely scared, sad and worried. I still am. No one thought something like this could happen. It was a huge surprise,” she said.
After working for Johansson, Floderus moved on to a position in the EU’s External Action Service, Johansson explained.
Iran attempted to broker a prisoner exchange with Sweden for the imprisoned EU official, SVT reported. In the deal — which was contested by the Swedish Court of Appeal — Iran wanted detained Iranian official Hamid Nouri in exchange for Floderus. In July 2022, Nouri was sentenced to life in prison in Sweden for his involvement in mass killings of Iranian political prisoners.