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January 14, 2020

Iranian envoy summoned after UK diplomat’s arrest

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P
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January 14, 2020

LONDON: Iran’s ambassador to the UK has been summoned to the Foreign Office for a dressing down following the “unacceptable” arrest of Britain’s top diplomat in Tehran.

Rob Macaire was arrested by police on Saturday as demonstrations broke out over the downing of a Ukrainian airliner by Iranian forces and was subsequently called in by the foreign ministry in Tehran to explain his “illegal and inappropriate” presence at the event.

Footage has been published by the Tasnim news agency which appears to show Macaire at what it calls an “illegal gathering”. Defending himself, Macaire said on Twitter that he went to an “event advertised as a vigil for victims” of the Ukraine International Airlines PS752 tragedy to pay his respects to the four dead Britons but “left after five mins when some started chanting”.

In response to the arrest, Hamid Baeidinejad has been called in for a meeting at the Foreign Office in London for ministers to convey their “strong objections” to the incident, which the UK claims breaches the Vienna Convention which governs diplomatic relations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “In relation to the arrest of the UK’s ambassador over the weekend, I would say this was an unacceptable breach of the Vienna Convention and it needs to be investigated.

“We are seeking full assurances from the Iranian government that this will never happen again. The FCO has summoned the Iranian ambassador today to convey our strong objections.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard admitted accidentally shooting down the Ukrainian jet with the loss of all 176 people on board, including four Britons. Families of the victims could seek compensation from the Iranian government, Downing Street indicated.

Johnson’s spokesman said: “As a first step we need a comprehensive, transparent andindependent investigation to know exactly what happened.“Of course the families of the four British victims deserve justice and closure and we will continue to do everything we can to support them in getting that, including options for compensation.”

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