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Iran summons UK Ambassador over participation in anti-govt rally; British govt outraged

Tehran has summoned the British Ambassador over his alleged participation in the anti-government rally in the aftermath of the government admitting to the downing of Ukrainian civilian jetliner. Rob Macaire, the British envoy, was detained earlier on Sunday. A report on the Iranian Foreign Ministry's website said, "Today, Rob Macaire was summoned because of his unconventional behaviour of attending an illegal rally on Saturday."

Edited by: India TV News Desk Tehran Published on: January 13, 2020 7:11 IST
Iran summons UK Ambassador over participation in anti-govt rally; British govt outraged
Image Source : AP

Iran summons UK Ambassador over participation in anti-govt rally; British govt outraged

Tehran has summoned the British Ambassador over his alleged participation in the anti-government rally in the aftermath of the government admitting to the downing of Ukrainian civilian jetliner. Rob Macaire, the British envoy, was detained earlier on Sunday. A report on the Iranian Foreign Ministry's website said, "Today, Rob Macaire was summoned because of his unconventional behavior of attending an illegal rally on Saturday."

Macaire on Sunday said in a Tweet that he did not take part in any demonstrations. "Thanks for the many goodwill messages. Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of #PS752 tragedy. Normal to want to pay respects- some of victims were British. I left after 5 mins, when some started chanting," he said. 

In a separate tweet, he wrote that he was arrested half an hour after leaving the vigil, adding that arresting diplomats is “illegal in all countries”.

"Detained half an hour after leaving the area.  Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries.  See comments by Foreign Secretary," Macaire said adding the link of the UK government's official statement on the matter. 

When the initial news of Macaire's detention broke, the British government reacted with outrage. "The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law," said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. 

He further added, "Iranian government is at a crossroads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forward."

Tehran witnessed a massive protest on Saturday as thousands of people gathered in the Iranian capital after the government admitted to shooting down Ukrainian aircraft. Iranian President and Foreign Minister took to Twitter to apologize for their acts amid worldwide condemnation. 

Police dispersed the protesters with tear gas, according to reports and videos on social media. Several people were arrested on the streets of Tehran throughout the day. 

Also Read | British ambassador to Iran arrested in charge of 'instigating radical and destructive action'

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