Nobel Foundation reverses invitations to Russia, Iran after backlash

The Nobel Foundation has reversed its invitations for representatives of Russia, Belarus and Iran to attend this year’s Nobel Prize awards ceremony in Stockholm after the decision announced a day earlier “provoked strong reactions”.

Several Swedish lawmakers said on Friday that they would boycott this year’s event 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.

“The decision by the Nobel Foundation to invite all ambassadors to the Nobel Prize award ceremony, in accordance with previous practice, has provoked strong reactions,” the foundation said on Saturday in a press release.

“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. ”

Some of the protesting lawmakers cited Russia’s war on Ukraine and the crackdown on human rights in Iran as reasons for their boycott. Moscow was not invited last year because of its invasion of Ukraine.

Belarusian opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Friday called on the Swedish Nobel Foundation and the Norwegian Nobel Committee not to invite representatives of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s “illegitimate regime to any events”.

Lukashenko is accused of launching a crackdown on opposition figures and critics after his disputed victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Last year, the Norwegian Nobel Institute still invited all ambassadors to the Peace Prize ceremony it organises in Oslo, and the foundation said this would be the case again this year.

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