Iran releases video of UK ambassador at ‘protest’ before arrest

By Andy Hayes, news reporter

Iranian police have released video of British ambassador Rob Macaire – shortly before he was arrested in Tehran on Saturday.
The move comes as Iran’s ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, is summoned to the Foreign Office following the “unacceptable” treatment of Rob Macaire, to enable ministers to convey their “strong objections”.

Mr Macaire, who was later released, said he had gone to a vigil for the people who died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner, and left when some chanting began.

He tweeted that he was detained “half an hour after leaving the area”, adding that “arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries”.
The Iranian foreign ministry said he was summoned to explain his “illegal and inappropriate presence” at an anti-government protest.

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Iran’s Basij militia, which is affiliated with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, has gathered outside the UK embassy in Tehran demanding it be closed, according to Iranian state media.

In an interview with Sky News last week, Mr Baeidinejad denied that Iran had shot the plane down, but later apologised for “conveying such wrong findings”.

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The prime minister’s official spokesman said Mr Macaire’s detention was an “unacceptable breach of the Vienna Convention and it needs to be investigated”.
He added: “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.”

Image: A union flag is set on fire outside the British embassy in Tehran

Iranian demonstrators defied a heavy police presence to protest their country’s denials that it shot down a passenger plane.
Four British people died when the Ukrainian International Airlines flight was hit by a missile southwest of Tehran, and Downing Street suggested their families could seek seek compensation from the Iranian government.
The prime minister’s spokesman added: “As a first step we need a comprehensive, transparent and independent 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.”
Protests in Iran have continued to escalate as the country struggles to control public anger over the downing of the passenger jet.
Police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators chanting against the country’s leaders – including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – on the second day of protests in Tehran, with rallies spreading to other Iranian cities.

Source : Sky News