Tehran, Iran – Iran’s intelligence ministry says it has arrested a Swedish national on charges of spying after having him under surveillance for some time.
An intelligence ministry statement on Saturday did not name the Swedish citizen or provide any information about his age or whereabouts.
It is also unclear if this is the same individual whose arrest had been announced by the Swedish foreign ministry in May. At the time, Sweden had said a tourist in his 30s was arrested, but Iran had not reported the arrest.
But the Iranian intelligence ministry statement on Saturday mentioned that the arrested individual’s travels were monitored closely from the unspecified time he entered the country, and that his trips were “conducted wholly outside tourist destinations and practices”.
“Findings by the anti-espionage structure of the ministry show that the Swedish suspect was in contact with a number of suspected European and non-European elements in Iran, using professional communication and security practices and secrecy,” it said.
The ministry said the Swedish national re-entered the country several months ago, shortly after “another European spy” was arrested.
The individual’s goal, it claimed, was to find out how the other person was arrested and what information they had, which led to the Swedish national being arrested when trying to exit the country.
The Iranian intelligence ministry also said the arrested individual had a history of travelling to Israel, Iran’s arch foe.
In May, Iranian intelligence arrested two French nationals accused of helping organise protests by teachers.
The news of the Swedish national’s arrest comes amid increasing tensions between Tehran and Stockholm.
Iran has condemned Sweden for the arrest and trials of Hamid Nouri, an Iranian citizen who was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month.
Nouri was convicted of murder during his time as assistant to the deputy prosecutor at the Gohardasht prison outside the Iranian city of Karaj in 1988.
Tehran recalled its ambassador to Sweden last week for “consultations” but said it has no immediate plans to cut or reduce diplomatic ties.
Iran is also holding Ahmad Reza Jalali, an Iranian-Swedish researcher, imprisoned since 2016 over espionage charges.
Jalali was sentenced to death but his sentence has yet to be carried out despite reports earlier this year that he could be executed before the end of May.