The Nordic country has made what has been called a ‘remarkable’ decision to grant asylum to gays and lesbians from Iran.

The Swedish Migration board has decided that openly gay and lesbian people of Iran will be granted instant asylum in the country, contrary to the previous asylum-conditions that required substantial evidence of the individual’s persecution.

While individual assessment will still take place, the board’s new policy firstly takes into account the risk of persecution based on sexual orientation.

The decision follows the case of a 25 year old Iranian who fled to Sweden after he and his boyfriend (an openly gay couple) had been arrested several times for their lifestyle choices. The migration board granted him permission to stay in the Scandinavian nation as they believed he would be subject to harsh persecution in Iran due only to his sexual orientation.

The ruling seems to be at odds with the Swedish Foreign Affairs ministry’s views on Iran, as three weeks ago the country’s embassy in Tehran said that there are “no executions in Iran as a result of sexual orientation.”

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL), has also successfully submitted the story of a gay man’s punishments in Iran to the UN’s Committee against Torture. This is the first time such a case has been accepted.

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