Iran says UK envoy Macaire arrested but freed soon after identified

WION Web Team New Delhi Jan 12, 2020, 06.36 PM(IST)

A woman shouts slogans as she gathers with people to show their sympathy to the victims of the crash of the Boeing 737-800 plane, flight PS 752, in Tehran, Iran January 11, 2020. Photograph:( Reuters )

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"He wasn't detained, but arrested as unknown foreigner in an illegal gathering," Seyed Abbas Araghchi tweeted, adding Macaire was released 15 minutes after he called the British diplomat to confirm his identity.

Iran's deputy foreign minister said on Sunday that Britain's ambassador to Tehran, Rob Macaire, was arrested as a foreigner at "an illegal gathering" but was freed soon after being identified.

"He wasn't detained, but arrested as unknown foreigner in an illegal gathering," Seyed Abbas Araghchi tweeted, adding Macaire was released 15 minutes after he called the British diplomat to confirm his identity.

 

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Meanwhile, Macaire denied that he took part in a demonstration that broke out at a memorial for the 176 people killed when a plane was shot down.

Students held a gathering at Tehran's Amir Kabir University on Saturday evening to honour those killed hours after Iran admitted the Ukrainian airliner was downed by mistake.

Iran's Mehr news agency said the ambassador, Rob Macaire, was arrested for his alleged "involvement in provoking suspicious acts" at the gathering in front of the university.

"Can confirm I wasn't taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of #PS752 tragedy," Macaire said on Twitter, adding he had been detained half an hour after leaving the area.

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"Normal to want to pay respects -- some of victims were British. I left after 5 mins, when some started chanting," he said.

"Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries," he added.

(With inputs from AFP)