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Sweden to be 'protecting power' for UK in Iran

Sweden to be 'protecting power' for UK in Iran

Published: 13 Jul 2012 07:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jul 2012 07:40 GMT+02:00

Sweden will look after Britain's interests in Iran, while Oman will perform the reverse role, London announced Thursday following the ransacking of Britain's embassy last year.

"Sweden has been asked to act as protecting power for the United Kingdom in Iran. We are pleased that Sweden is able to take on this mandate in the situation that has arisen," said Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt in a statement.

Britain shut its mission in Tehran in November after it was attacked by protesters angry at sanctions against the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.

Sweden will start its role on Sunday, the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

"We are very grateful to Sweden for agreeing to take on the role of 'protecting power', looking after the interests of the UK in Iran," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

"A British interests section will open under the auspices of the Swedish embassy in Tehran from July 15.

"We have accepted the Sultanate of Oman as the Islamic Republic of Iran's protecting power in the UK."

Foreign Secretary William Hague last year accused the Iranian government of tacit support for the attack on its embassy.

Britain ordered all Iranian embassy staff in London to leave, though diplomatic relations were not cut off completely.

"Following the unacceptable attack on our embassy last year by Iranian state-backed militia we reduced our diplomatic relations with Iran to their lowest level," the statement added.

"These new arrangements will help us continue essential business on a formal basis.

"The British interests section will provide limited consular assistance for emergencies only, as well as look after the staff and property of the British embassy in Tehran.

"We have had an embassy in Iran for many years. And we would like to do so again in the future.

"But until that time arrives, we are confident that our interests in Tehran will be well looked after by the Swedish embassy."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:17 July 13, 2012 by Rishonim
@Trowbridge; What will it do, especially if it is confronted with even more violent actions against its Embassy and staff?

Sweden will do what what it has always do.. Appease. Sweden has ample experience doing these sort of things. I believe it is a big mistake on the UK side to entrust anything on the Swedes.
10:29 July 13, 2012 by rise
UK isn't the first and only - the Swedish Embassy in North Korea is the United States so called Protecting Power as well...
11:13 July 13, 2012 by rise
@Trowbridge H. Ford

We'll just have to wait and see IF and WHAT will happen, won't we? Instead of being hypothetical...

Being the "protecting power" isn't that strange nor unusual. Many countries are, for other countries:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protecting_power#Other_protecting_power_relationships

And this I believe scores some kind of record:

"In World War II Sweden was entrusted with representing 114 mandates for 28 countries."
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