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Iran Protests Over Sweden's Granting Of Citizenship To Prisoner

Ahmadreza Djalali is a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. (file photo)

The Iranian Foreign Ministry says it has summoned the Swedish ambassador to protest over the country's granting of citizenship to a Stockholm-based scientist who is being held in Tehran and faces a death sentence.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying that the Swedish envoy in Tehran had been summoned in protest on February 19, two days after Sweden confirmed it had granted citizenship to Ahmadreza Djalali.

A Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on February 17 that Stockholm has requested that Iran allow "consular access to our citizen."

"Our demand is that the death penalty is not carried out," she also said.

Qasemi said Iran considered Sweden's move "questionable and unfriendly," and added that Tehran "could not accept the foreign nationality" of the detainee.

"He is still an Iranian," he added.

Iran does not recognize dual citizenship.

Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, was arrested in Iran in April 2016 and later convicted on charges of espionage.

He was accused by Iranian authorities of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior Iranian nuclear scientists.

Iran's Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in December.

'Solitary Confinement, Torture'

Tehran’s prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi has said Djalali confessed to meeting agents of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, to deliver information on Iran's nuclear and defense plans and personnel.

Djalali had been on a business trip to Iran when he was arrested and sent to Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

Amnesty International says Djalali was held in solitary confinement for three months and tortured after his arrest.

The London-based rights groups also said Djalali wrote a letter from inside prison in August stating that he was being held because he refused to spy for Iran.

Seventy-five Nobel prize laureates in 2016 petitioned Iranian authorities to release Djalali so that he could "continue his scholarly work for the benefit of mankind.”

With reporting by Reuters and AP