Nobel Foundation retracts invite to Russia, Belarus and Iran representatives to attend ceremonies

By Isaac M September 3, 2023

The Nobel Foundation on Saturday retracted its invitation for representatives of Russia, Belarus and Iran to attend this year’s Nobel Prize award ceremonies after the controversial decision “provoked strong reactions”.

Several Swedish lawmakers said Friday they would boycott this year’s Nobel Prize award ceremonies in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, after the private foundation that administers the prestigious awards changed its position from a year earlier and invited representatives of the three countries to attend.

Some of the lawmakers cited Russia’s war on Ukraine and the crackdown on human rights in Iran as reasons for their boycott.

The Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told media outlets Friday that he wouldn’t allow Russian representatives to attend the ceremony to attend Nobel award ceremonies this year if given the choice.

“The basis for the decision is that we believe that it is important and right to reach out as widely as possible with the values and messages that the Nobel Prize stands for,” the Nobel Foundation said in a brief statement.

The foundation said they recognized “the strong reactions in Sweden, which completely overshadowed this message” and chose not to invite “the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm.”

However, it said that it would follow its usual practice and invite all ambassadors to the ceremony in Oslo where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.

The Nobel Foundation said earlier it had extended invitations to all countries with diplomatic missions in Sweden and Norway to the Dec.10 event since that “promotes opportunities to convey the important messages of the Nobel Prize to everyone.”

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