Saturday, 23 September, 2023

Russia and Iran invited back to Nobel Prize banquet

Russia and Belarus have been invited back to Stockholm's Nobel Prize banquet after being left out last year because of the Ukraine war, the Nobel Foundation says.

Iran has also been invited back to the event in Sweden's capital after not being allowed to attend last year.

The foundation said it sought to include even those who did not share the values of the Nobel Prize.

One Swedish MEP called this year's invites "extremely inappropriate".

The leader of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party, Jimmie Akesson, was also invited for the first time this year but said he was too busy to attend.

Five of the six Nobel Prize ceremonies take place in Stockholm each year, while the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo.

Last year, the Nobel Foundation said ambassadors from Russia and Belarus would not be invited "due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine". Belarus is a key ally of Russia and its leader, Alexander Lukashenko, has backed Russia's "special military operation", as it calls the invasion of Ukraine in February of last year.

Iran was also not invited last year. Tehran has long faced criticism for its human rights record. The UN has said the government there could have committed crimes against humanity in its crackdown on protests last year.