Iraq cuts ties with Sweden, expels ambassador over Quran burning
Iraq fulfills its vows and cuts ties with Sweden over its approval of yet another Quran burning despite warnings regarding the issue.
The Iraqi government on Thursday expelled Sweden's ambassador to the country and severed its ties with Stockholm in response to the repeated Quran burnings in Sweden, which were permitted by the Swedish government.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani directed the Iraqi foreign ministry to summon the Iraqi Charge d'Affaires in Stockholm over the Swedish violations.
Moreover, the head of the media association in Iraq suspended the license of Swedish telecom company Ericsson on Iraqi soil following the Quran burning.
The Iraqi government said that these provocative acts are in violation of international conventions and norms with respect to religions and beliefs and constitute a threat to peace and incite a culture of violence and hatred.
After hundreds of people stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad and set it ablaze in protest over plans for burning a copy of the Quran in Stockholm on Thursday, Iraq warned Sweden that it would sever diplomatic relations if a Quran is burned again.
The Iraqi government swiftly condemned the burning of the Swedish embassy, with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani saying in a statement that the action was a security breach, while vowing to provide the needed protection for diplomatic missions.
The statement, however, also revealed that Baghdad "informed the Swedish government [...] that any recurrence of the incident involving the burning of the Holy Quran on Swedish soil would necessitate severing diplomatic relations."
The Swedish authorities approved a protest on Thursday outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm whose organizers planned to burn a copy of the Quran and an Iraqi flag.
Swedish media said Salwan Momika, who had previously burned a copy of the Quran on the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday and caused international outrage, organized the event in Stockholm on Thursday. In the wake of the news, Sweden's embassy in Iraq was set on fire by protesters ahead of a planned burning of the Quran in Sweden.
The protest in Baghdad was organized by supporters of Iraqi Sadrist Movement leader Muqtada Al-Sadr, whereby riot police fired water cannons to disperse demonstrators alongside security forces who were armed with electric batons.
"We are mobilized today to denounce the burning of the Quran, which is all about love and faith," adding: "We demand that the Swedish government and the Iraqi government stop this type of initiative," protester Hassan Ahmad told AFP.