Is Sweden Turning a Blind Eye to Iran?


The European Union has long relied on consensus building to deal with external threats. In their eyes, rarely, if ever, a military option is on the table – even if one country openly declares “wiping another off the map.”

First the good news: the EU has sought heavy new economic sanctions on Iran, which would include a ban on importing natural gas from Iran to its countries, and a ban on selling various metals to the Islamic Republic. The new sanctions would also not allow companies in the EU from providing Iran with technology, equipment and spare parts for oil tankers, and Iran’s fleet of tankers would not be allowed to sail under any EU country’s flag. This would severely hamper their ability to market its oil around the world.

Bad news, the dovish Swedes have apparently balked, and have sought to sabotage these sanctions. According to the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said the report was based “on an unauthorized anonymous official and that it did not represent Israeli government policy.” Sweden’s Foreign Ministry has since summoned Israeli Ambassador Isaac Bachman.

If however, the report is proven true, the Swedes have demonstrated a grave error in judgment. Perhaps to them, they are adopting the familiar Godfather adage, “it’s not personal, strictly business.” Turning a blind eye and abetting a foul regime is reprehensible and ought to be condemned by the entire world community. The Swedish company Ericsson, the world’s biggest telecom equipment maker has three major customers in Iran: MTN Irancell, MCCI and TIC – a sobering reminder to the rest of the world, if not to the Swedes themselves, to stop and think who are legitimate trading partners.

If Sweden really has tried to thwart sanctions, they ought to be ashamed for both their feckless naiveté and disregard for their own values. The European Union has long believed that all states have the ability to be rational, and can be potential partners. But here, we are dealing with Iran. The Islamic Republic has managed to cajole, manipulate, and buy time at the expense of the world community, as it seeks its nuclear weapon. It is a state sponsor of terrorism, funding Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Through its actions, Sweden reflects flaws that are endemic to the EU itself, a transnational organization that seems all but oblivious to the realities of the dangers of our world, not to mention a blatant anti-Israel bias.

We at the Jewish Voice do not advocate a militaristic approach at all times, but the Western world should never turn their blinders on when dealing with radical Islamist regime. We ought to be in the position of strength.

The Islamic Republic has yet to prove that their negotiations and agreements have been in good faith. They continue to reject any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that doesn’t involve the annihilation of the Jewish state. A destabilized Middle East is clearly their goal, as Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi recently characterized the Arab Spring as an “Islamic Awakening,” ignoring that its own regime violently suppressed Green Movement protesters in 2009.

If the Swedish government seeks to continue its business with Iran as a way to thwart the most recent sanctions, we are morally obligated to bring public attention to these actions and condemn them in the strongest possible terms. We know that the Swedish communications giant has signed a series of agreements with government-owned company Irancell in recent years. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has long championed diplomacy over sanctions. However, to steal another line from the Godfather, “all I want is a truce” may prove to be a dangerous proposition when the other side is prepared to die with you.