Swedish authorities fail to take strong action against Hezbollah and Iranian terror activity, Israeli researcher says.
Iran and Hezbollah have been active in Sweden for years and continue to advance terror activities in the country, a new Israeli study says. Yet despite a long history of radicalism, little has been done to stop these hostile forces from operating in Swedish territory, the report warns.
Sweden’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies are apparently not viewing Iran and Hezbollah as a significant threat, veteran researcher Dr. Eli Karmon wrote. His analysis was published by the Israel-based International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
The Swedish terror connection surfaced earlier this year after Ethiopia foiled an Iranian plot to target an Arab embassy. The ringleader of the terror cell, a Swedish resident, was detained in Sweden.
Swedes in the service of Iran
However, the Ethiopia plot was merely the latest in a long string of terrorist activities with a Swedish link, the study said. Experts have monitored the role of Swedish citizens in Iranian and Hezbollah operations since the 1990s, Karmon wrote.
More recently, a Swedish-Lebanese citizen was detained in Cyprus in 2012 over airport surveillance. He later admitted to working for Hezbollah and used his Swedish passport for related travel. Days after his arrest, an Israeli tourist bus was bombed at a Bulgarian airport, the study says.
In 2015, a Swedish citizen was charged in Israel for spying on military facilities on behalf of Hezbollah, the report notes. In 2018, a Norwegian of Iranian descent was arrested in Sweden in connection with a terror plot. In 2019, a Swedish-Iraqi citizen was convicted of spying on Iranian exiles. The list goes on.
Easy access for terrorists
Sweden is particularly vulnerable to penetration by Iranian and Hezbollah agents, the study says, citing attorney Nima Rostami. Immigration officials fail to perform background checks, thereby offering hostile actors easy access into the country, the lawyer previously wrote.
Notably, the above examples are just some of the cases of malicious activities linked to Iran or Hezbollah. Meanwhile, a Lebanon-based group that promotes Iranian radicalism worldwide is openly active in Sweden as well, the study says.
Overall, Swedish authorities seem to have little interest in curbing Iran’s terror drive, the study said. It noted that there was no mention of Iranian or Hezbollah activities in recent reports by Sweden’s center for assessment of terror threats. More public reporting that highlights the threat may deter Iran from using the country as a terror hub, the analysis concluded.