British Ambassador to Iran Arrested at Protest in Tehran, Sparks a Counter-Protest at the Embassy
It is not known if he was carrying a bag of cookies
The British ambassador to Iran has been asked to justify his ‘illegal and inappropriate presence’ at an anti-government protest in Tehran – despite denying he’d taken part.
Rob Macaire says he attended a vigil to the 176 people killed after a Ukrainian airliner was shot down by Iranian forces, and left ‘five minutes’ after the crowd started ‘chanting’.
He was then arrested half an hour after he left the area and says he spent more than an hour in custody before being released.
Taking to Twitter, he thanked people for their ‘goodwill messages’ and stated that it was ‘normal to pay respects’ as British victims had been among the dead.
Mr Macaire then added: ‘Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries.’
Responding to the tweets, Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi denied that Mr Macaire had been detained and said he was released within ’15 minutes’.
He claimed the ambassador was arrested ‘as [an] unknown foreigner in an illegal gathering’.
Mr Macaire has now been called on to explain what he was doing by the anti-government protests.
Iranian politician Hossein Ali Haji Deligani also accused Mr Macaire of interfering, and told him to leave the country before the ‘nation forces him’, Fars News Agency reports.
He said: ‘The undue presence of the British ambassador in some gatherings is a flagrant interference in Iran’s affairs and it should be studied at the parliament, specially the National Security Commission.
‘I call on the British envoy to end his interference and leave Iran before the Iranian nation forces him to leave.’
Today a group of 200 protesters from the Revolutionary Guards’ Basij militia headed to the UK embassy in Tehran to burn union and Israeli flags.
Chants of ‘death to Britain’ could be heard as they called for the embassy to be closed.
One protester told reporters: ‘We demand the expulsion of the sinister ambassador of this vicious country’.
Another claimed that Mr Macaire had ‘organised people and interfered’ in the anti-government protests, which had ‘angered the people’.