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11 Jan, 2020 21:07

UK envoy to Tehran briefly detained for ‘inciting & directing’ anti-govt protesters at Amirkabir University

UK envoy to Tehran briefly detained for ‘inciting & directing’ anti-govt protesters at Amirkabir University

British Ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire was briefly detained outside of Amirkabir University in Tehran for questioning over his alleged role in “inciting and directing” anti-government protesters, Tasnim News Agency reports.

The diplomat was among a group of people detained while seeking to “to organize, instigate and direct some radical and destructive actions,” according to the Tehran-based news agency. He was released several hours later, but will reportedly be summoned on Sunday for further questioning. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the incident with the British diplomat a “flagrant violation of international law,” insisting that Macaire was detained without any "grounds or explanation” for simply taking photos of a peaceful rally. Tehran has yet to issue official comments. 

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Hundreds of people flocked to universities in Iran earlier on Saturday for vigils and protests after Tehran admitted to accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian plane with 176 on board, many of whom were Iranian students.

While many brought flowers and candles, some groups blocked roads and carried banners, chanting anti-government slogans that “apologies and resignations” were not enough, demanding “prosecutions and constitutional changes.”

In the evening, security forces deployed tear gas and water cannon to disperse an agitated crowd that was still chanting slogans outside Amirkabir University of Technology, videos shared online show. An unspecified number of activists were detained, the British envoy allegedly among them.

The General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces admitted that Flight 752 was shot down on Wednesday due to human error, on the day that Tehran was responding to the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. 

Offering his condolences to the victims’ families, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani apologized for the “disastrous mistake” on behalf of Iran, fully acknowledging that the tragedy was caused by the erroneous actions of his country’s military.

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