The Nobel Foundation has withdrawn its invitation to representatives from Russia, Belarus, and Iran to attend this year’s Nobel Prize award ceremonies after the controversial decision “provoked strong reactions”.
A number of Swedish officials also decided to skip the ceremonies in Stockholm in protest after the foundation had initially invited representatives from these countries.
Some officials mentioned Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and Iran’s human rights issues as reasons for their decision to boycott.
The Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, said he would not allow Russian representatives to attend the Nobel award ceremonies if he had a choice.
In a statement, the Nobel Foundation said: “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 foundation said it acknowledged “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”.
It added it would follow its usual practice and invite all ambassadors to the ceremony in Oslo where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.
Previously, the Nobel Foundation said it had extended invitations to all countries with diplomatic missions in Sweden and Norway to the event on 10 December since that “promotes opportunities to convey the important messages of the Nobel Prize to everyone”.
But the Nobel Foundation will still invite all ambassadors to the ceremony in Oslo where they give out the Nobel Peace Prize, it said.
Russian and Belarusian envoys were banned from attending the 2022 ceremonies and banquets, which take place annually on 10 December, due to the war in Ukraine.
Iran was also barred as a result of what the foundation called “the serious and escalating situation” in the country.