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Prime Minister Stefan Löfven visited Iran
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven visited Iran on 11–12 February at the invitation of President Hassan Rouhani. A business delegation led by Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde accompanied Mr Löfven on the trip. The delegation included Business Sweden and a number of other government agencies. Anders Ferbe, Chairman of IF Metall (metalworkers union), also took part.
Mr Löfven had bilateral discussions with President Rouhani as well as meetings with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani. Discussions at the political meetings dealt mainly with bilateral relations, regional issues focusing primarily on the crises in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and human rights. It is particularly important to discuss these issues with Iran now, when Sweden is a member of the UN Security Council. Mr Löfven presented a clear message on the importance of Iran contributing to the achievement of political solutions to the region's conflicts. He emphasised Sweden's deep concern over the human rights situation in Iran, not least the use of the death penalty, limitations to freedom of expression and the press, and discrimination of women and minorities.
How to strengthen women's participation in the labour market
Mr Löfven also met Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi. The meeting was followed by a round-table discussion at which Mr Löfven, Ms Molaverdi and Iranian and Swedish representatives discussed how to strengthen women's participation in the labour market and participation in society. Iranian representatives included women active in the parliament, business and civil society. Also taking part in these discussions were IF Metall Chairman Anders Ferbe and Swedish Institute Director-General Annika Rembe.
Several bilateral cooperation agreements were signed during the visit in areas such as higher education and research, transportation, technology and innovation, information technology, and strengthening women's participation in the labour force and entrepreneurship.
A number of commercial agreements were also signed between Swedish and Iranian companies.