The Nobel Foundation has withdrawn its invitation for representatives of Russia, Belarus and Iran to attend this year’s Nobel Prize award ceremonies after the decision announced a day earlier “provoked strong reactions”.
The move came on Saturday after several Swedish lawmakers said that they would boycott this year’s Nobel Prize award ceremonies in Stockholm.
The private foundation which administers the prestigious awards had previously changed its position from a year earlier and invited representatives of the three countries to attend.
At the time, they said the body “promotes opportunities to convey the important messages of the Nobel Prize to everyone”.
Some of the lawmakers cited Russia’s war on Ukraine and the crackdown on human rights in Iran as reasons for their boycott.
Belarusian opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Friday called on the Swedish Nobel Foundation and the Norwegian Nobel Committee to rescind their invitations to representatives of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s “illegitimate regime” to “any events”.
The Nobel Foundation on Saturday said it recognized “the strong reactions in Sweden, which completely overshadowed this message” and had decided not to invite the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to the ceremony in Stockholm.
However, following usual practice, it confirmed all ambassadors will remain invited to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
Saturday’s announcement was widely praised in Sweden by politicians and royals.
In a statement from the Swedish Royal House, spokeswoman Margareta Thorgren said: “we see the change in the decision as positive” and added that King Carl XVI Gustaf was planning to hand out this year’s Nobel awards at ceremonies in Stockholm “as before”.
This year’s Nobel prize winners will be announced in early October. The laureates are then invited to receive their awards at glittering prize ceremonies on 10 December - the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.