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13 Jan, 2020 15:16

UK summons Iran’s ambassador over brief detention of British envoy accused of taking part in ‘illegal rally’ in Tehran

UK summons Iran’s ambassador over brief detention of British envoy accused of taking part in ‘illegal rally’ in Tehran

The Foreign Office has summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its “strong objections” over the brief detention of his UK counterpart in Tehran who was nabbed by law enforcement when he took part in an “illegal rally.”

In the ongoing diplomatic spat, London summoned Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad in an apparent tit-for-tat move. UK envoy Rob Macaire was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Sunday over his “unconventional behavior.”

“This was an unacceptable breach of the Vienna Convention and it needs to be investigated,” the Foreign Office said on Monday. “We are seeking full assurances from the Iranian government that this will never happen again.”

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The scandal broke out after the brief detention of Macaire on Saturday during a vigil for victims of the Ukrainian plane downing, which turned into a large protest. Iran’s deputy FM, Seyed Abbas Araghchi, said the detention came as a “big surprise” for him and that the envoy was released immediately after his identity was confirmed. The UK envoy, however, received objections from the Iranian authorities over his participation in the rally, while local media reports indicate he was believed to have actually been directing the protesters.

Macaire denied the allegations, insisting that he was only seeking to attend the vigil to pay his respects to the victims of the Ukrainian jet tragedy and only spent a few minutes there. The plane was shot down by Iranian anti-aircraft defenses last Wednesday after it was erroneously identified as an incoming cruise missile.

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