Ann Linde
Ann LindeReuters

Sweden's foreign minister Ann Linde said on Tuesday she had spoken to her Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to formally object to the planned execution of an Iranian-Swedish professor sentenced to death on spying charges, AFP reports.

Linde, who announced the call on Twitter, said she had been in touch with Zarif following reports that Iran was preparing to carry out the execution of Ahmadreza Djalali, a specialist in emergency medicine.

"Sweden denounces the death penalty and is working to not have the sentence against Djalali carried out," she wrote.

Djalali, a doctor and lecturer at the Stockholm-based Karolinska Institute, was arrested in Iran in April 2016 and later convicted of espionage and sentenced to death. He denied the charges.

In 2017, Iranian state television aired what it described as the confessions of Djalali, saying he had provided information to Israel to help it eliminate several senior nuclear scientists.

Iran claims Djalali is linked to the elimination of four Iranian scientists between 2010 and 2012 that Tehran said was an Israeli attempt to sabotage its nuclear energy program.

Djalali has claimed he is being punished for refusing to spy for Iran while working in Europe.

His lawyers also claimed they were blocked from presenting submissions ahead of the Supreme Court hearing.

The Islamic Republic, which is notorious for its executions, has in the past executed individuals it claimed to be “spies” for both Israel and the U.S.

In June of 2012, Iran claimed to have dismantled a terrorist and sabotage network in the southern city of Shiraz, which allegedly planned bombings and assassination attempts during Iran’s presidential election.

The network had links with the CIA, Israel and some neighboring Arab nations, Iran claimed.

In a previous incident, Iran executed Majid Jamali Fashi after convicting him of spying for the Mossad and of playing a key role in the January 2010 assassination of a top nuclear scientist in return for payment of $120,000.