The British ambassador to Iran has hit out at the country’s authorities after he was arrested following a haircut in Tehran.
Rob Macaire tweeted on Sunday to confirm he “wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations” after he was taken into custody on his way back to the British embassy.
His arrest on Saturday came as a wave of anti-government demonstrations broke out across the country following the admission Iranian forces had accidentally brought down a Ukrainian airliner killing all 176 people on board.
Mr Macaire said he had been at a vigil on Saturday afternoon for the victims of the crash, but he left after it turned into an anti-government protest.
“Thanks for the many goodwill messages. Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations!” he tweeted.
“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.
“Detained half an hour after leaving the area. Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries. See comments by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.”
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Mr Raab warned Iran on Saturday it is danger of becoming an international “pariah” after the British ambassador was arrested during anti-government protests in Tehran.
Mr Raab said the detention of Rob Macaire and without any grounds or explanation was a “flagrant violation” of international law.
He said Tehran was at a crossroads – with the prospect of continuing political and economic isolation unless it engages diplomatically with the West.
In a statement, Mr Raab said: “The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law.
“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards.”
According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency Mr Macaire was one of a number of people arrested outside the university on suspicion of organising, provoking, and directing radical actions.
He was picked up as he was trying to make his way back to the embassy – although it is not clear by whom.