Iran plane crash: British ambassador says his detention was 'of course illegal' in first statement since arrest

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Demonstrators light candles while gathering during a vigil for the victims of the Ukraine International Airlines flight - Bloomberg

Demonstrators light candles while gathering during a vigil for the victims of the Ukraine International Airlines flight - Bloomberg

Demonstrators light candles while gathering during a vigil for the victims of the Ukraine International Airlines flight – Bloomberg
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Britain’s ambassador to Iran&nbsp;has talked for the first time since he was&nbsp;arrested after attending a vigil for the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, saying his detention was "of course illegal".&nbsp;” data-reactid=”17″>Britain’s ambassador to Iran has talked for the first time since he was arrested after attending a vigil for the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, saying his detention was “of course illegal”. 

Rob Macaire tweeted on Sunday morning to clarify details of his arrest – the latest escalation in the Middle East tensions.

He said: “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.

“Detained half an hour after leaving the area. Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries. See comments by Foreign Secretary.”

Rob Macaire

Rob Macaire

<figcaption class="C($c-fuji-grey-h) Fz(13px) Py(5px) Lh(1.5)" title="Rob Macaire” data-reactid=”29″>

Rob Macaire

Details of his arrest were announced by the country’s semi-official Tasnim news agency on Saturday and prompted an angry response from Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab.

“The arrest of our Ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law,” he said.

“The 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 forwards.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="It is understood that the event which Mr Macaire attended had been advertised as a vigil at Amir Kabir University for the 176 victims of the Tehran plane crash last week.” data-reactid=”36″>It is understood that the event which Mr Macaire attended had been advertised as a vigil at Amir Kabir University for the 176 victims of the Tehran plane crash last week.

He and another member of the embassy staff left once the vigil turned into a protest.

Pressure had been building as the evidence mounted that the regime was behind the tragic downing of Flight PS752. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="But when the admission came from Iran’s leaders, protesters hit the streets on Saturday night for the first time since Wednesday’s accident.” data-reactid=”39″>But when the admission came from Iran’s leaders, protesters hit the streets on Saturday night for the first time since Wednesday’s accident.

Crowds of students gathered outside a central Tehran university to denounce the Revolutionary Guard, the elite military force answerable directly to the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Shame on you,” they shouted. “End your rule over the country.”

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