Iran put to death a Swedish-Iranian activist who was found guilty of heading an Arab separatist movement that carried out several attacks, among them a 2018 assault on a military parade that left 25 dead, according to the Iranian judiciary.
Sweden’s foreign ministry said it had called in Iran’s deputy envoy to express its objection to the killing of Habib Farajollah Chaab, which it verified happened earlier that day.
Chaab received the death penalty for being “corrupt on earth”, a crime punishable by death under Iran’s harsh Islamic laws.
Iran tried him in 2022 for leading the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, a group that wants an independent state in the oil-rich Khuzestan province in southwest Iran, and planning and executing “many bombings and terrorist acts”.
The judiciary said in a statement that the security agencies of Sweden, Israel and regional countries supported Chaab and his movement, which it said had killed or wounded 450 Iranians over several years.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom expressed “shock” at Chaab’s execution, saying Sweden had urged Iran not to do it.
“The death penalty is a cruel and irreversible punishment and Sweden, along with the rest of the EU, rejects its use in all situations,” he said.
Iran said in 2020 that its security forces captured Chaab in neighboring Turkey and brought him to Tehran, without giving details of his arrest.
Sweden had raised concern over Chaab’s case, and relations with Iran had also been strained over a Swedish court’s life-time jail sentence for a former Iranian official for involvement in the mass killing of political prisoners in 1988 in the Islamic Republic.
Iran has had tense ties with its ethnic minorities, which include Arabs, Kurds, Azeris and Baluch, and has accused them of siding with neighboring countries.
Arabs and other minorities have long complained of facing discrimination in Iran, an accusation Tehran denies.