Azita Raji speaks at Barnard College in 2013. Photo: Barnard College
The US Senate has confirmed the appointment of former JP Morgan banker Azita Raji as its new ambassador to Sweden, after presidential hopeful Ted Cruz ended his senate blockade on “political nominees”.
Raji, who fled Iran as a teenager, has been a prominent supporter of US president Barack Obama since leaving the financial sector in 2008, bringing in more than $3 million in campaign funding and serving as the President's national vice-chair for finance. She will be Sweden's first female US ambassador.
“Congratulations to Ambassador-designate Azita Raji on her confirmation by the US Senate. We look forward to welcoming her to Stockholm soon,” the embassy in Stockholm said in a a Facebook post announcing the appointment.
Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, began his blockage last summer, sending a letter to President Obama warning of plans “to block all nominees for the Department of State and hold any legislation that reauthorizes funds for the Department of State,” unless he received assurances on what described as the "catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal".
Sweden has been without a US ambassador since Mark Brzezinski ended his four-year stint in Stockholm in July to take up a post of US ambassador to the Arctic.
Raji's Iranian background will be welcomed by Sweden's 63,828 Swedish Iranians, who have become one of the country's most successful immigrant groups since fleeing Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with several prominent MPs, writers, musicians, sportspeople and scientists.