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Iran confirms UK envoy arrest, says freed soon after being identified

British envoy to Iran denies he took part in demonstration


Rob Macaire

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.

He wasn't detained, but arrested as unknown foreigner in an illegal gathering. When police informed me a man's arrested who claims to be UK Amb, I said IMPOSSIBLE! only after my phone conversation w him I identified, out of big surprise, that it's him. 15 min later he was free. pic.twitter.com/VjuZxN1oTN— Seyed Abbas Araghchi (@araghchi) January 12, 2020

Iran summoned the UK envoy on Sunday to complain about his attendance at an “illegal” rally in Tehran to commemorate those killed in a Ukrainian airliner mistakenly downed by the country’s military forces, Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website reported.

“Today, Rob Macaire was summoned because of his unconventional behavior of attending an illegal rally on Saturday,” the report said.

Britain’s ambassador to Tehran 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.

The EU’s diplomatic chief criticized Iran on Sunday for briefly detaining the ambassador, calling for “de-escalation”.



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