Iraq has expelled the Swedish ambassador in protest against the planned burning of the Quran in Stockholm, and protests have also erupted in Baghdad, where the Swedish embassy was set on fire, writes Reuters.
On Thursday, the 20th of July, the Iraqi government announced that it had also recalled its ambassador to Sweden, and it is reported that the Swedish company Ericsson’s work permit in Iraq was also suspended.
Protesters have asked the Swedish police for permission to burn the Quran in front of the Iraqi embassy. The permit has been issued. During the protest on the 20th of July,
the protesters kicked and partially destroyed the book, but after about an hour they left the protest site, without setting the book on fire.
The Quran is the main religious text of Islam, and Muslims believe it to be a revelation from Allah.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said embassy staff were safe, but Iraqi authorities had failed to fulfill their international obligations, which include guarding embassies.
On Thursday evening, Iran’s foreign ministry summoned Sweden’s ambassador to Tehran to protest against the desecration of the holy book, while Turkey called what was happening in Stockholm a “despicable attack”. The representative of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that the ambassador was summoned, but did not comment on the content of the conversation in detail.
The Iraqi government has condemned the attack on the embassy, reported security breaches, and promised to protect diplomats. At the same time,
Baghdad has also informed that the repetition of the burning of the Quran in Sweden may lead to the severing of diplomatic ties.
The decision to recall the ambassador came as a protest broke out in Stockholm, but before protesters left the embassy grounds without setting Quran on fire.
Washington has also condemned the attack on the embassy and criticized the authorities for failing to stop Iraqi protesters from storming the diplomatic zone. The European Union has indicated that it expects swift action from Iraq to prevent similar incidents.
Several videos posted on the One Baghdad Telegram channel show people gathering around the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, shouting slogans in support of Islam. Smoke rose from a building in the embassy compound, and protesters could be seen on its roof.
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