The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg has hit back at insinuations concerning his holiday with Norwegian-Iranian Bahareh Letnes. Two opposition parties (Sosial Venstre SV and Arbeiderpartiet AP) are now demanding answers about Sandberg’s Iranian trip.
Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg (58) just visited Iran together with Norwegian-Iranian Bahareh Letnes (28). The latter owns the company B&H General Trading Company Bahareh Letnes, which is engaged in fish exports.
Soon after, Dagens Næringsliv reported that the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries was not aware of any travel as it was a private trip, but became aware coincidentally due to the Iranian authorities contacting the ministry to ask if they could meet with Sandberg as they had heard he would be making a private trip to Iran.
Now SV and AP are both demanding a clarification about the private trip.
“I have a feeling we are missing information somewhere, so I think it would be of benefit to everyone that he answers questions from Parliament,” SV parliamentarian Torgeir Fylkesnes told Dagens Næringsliv.
He said that clarification is needed concerning Sandberg’s contact with Iranian authorities, and what the actual relationship is between the fisheries minister and Bahareh Letnes. A written question will be submitted in Parliament on August 1.
That has provoked Sandberg to respond in no uncertain terms. He stresses he is on a private trip – unequivocally 100 percent free from work relations.
“That “someone” is trying to weave conspiracy & corruption theories from this, beggars all belief,” he wrote in a SMS.
AP will also be submitting a written question, if the fisheries minister does not deliver what they consider to be a satisfactory clarification.
“I believe it is of paramount importance we get to the bottom of this matter. This concerns what relations Sandberg has, in terms of trade-political contact with the Iranian authorities, and foreign policy with regard to Iran,” said AP’s spokesman on trade policy, Terje Aasland.
Aasland also said Sandberg must clarify the nature of his relationship with Letnes, and her company.