Iran arrested the UK ambassador for attending a vigil for crash victims
On Saturday, Iranian authorities arrested the UK’s ambassador to the country and accused him of participating in the anti-government demonstrations over the downing of the Ukrainian airliner.
The ambassador, Rob Macaire, denied that the allegation, saying he attended what he believed was a vigil to honor the victims of the crash, which included at least four people with ties to Britain.
“Normal to want to pay respects- some of victims were British,” Macaire wrote on Twitter. “I left after 5 mins, when someone started chanting.”
Macaire said he was detained half an hour after leaving the vigil, and the BBC reports he was held before about three hours before he was released.
Iranian officials said Macaire was arrested as an “unknown foreigner” at an illegal gathering, but was released as soon as officials were aware of his identity. The Vienna Convention, which dictates how governments are supposed to treat foreign diplomats and embassies in their countries, broadly gives diplomats immunity from arrest.
“As the Iranian high official has formally announced, the moment the police has been informed of the indentity of the UK Ambassador, he has been freed,” Iran’s ambassador to the UK wrote on Twitter.
Still, Iran’s foreign ministry said Sunday it had summoned Macaire to explain his “illegal and inappropriate presence,” according to the Guardian. And a small group of anti-British protesters — believed to represent the Basij militia, which is connected to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — gathered outside the embassy in Tehran, calling for it to shut down.
Read the full story at: VOX
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