Rob Macaire, here in 2010. (archives) - Khalil Senosi / AP / SIPA
Britain's ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, whose arrest in London on Saturday denounced Tehran, on Sunday denied taking part in any protest against the authorities, as reported by some Iranian media.
Thanks for the many goodwill messages. Can confirm I wasn't taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of # PS752 tragedy. Normal to want to pay respects- some of victims were British. I left after 5 mins, when some started chanting.- Rob Macaire (@HMATehran) January 12, 2020
"I can confirm that I did not take part in any demonstration," writes Rob Macaire on Twitter. "I went to an event announced as a vigil for the victims of the tragedy (theft) # PS752" of Ukraine International Airlines, which was shot down near Tehran on Wednesday, he added, "I left after five minutes when some started to launch slogans "against the authorities.
The Islamic Republic recognized on Saturday its responsibility in this catastrophe in which 176 people died and which caused a wave of indignation in Iran, after the denials opposed until then by the authorities to the thesis of the missile advanced as of Wednesday evening by Ottawa . It is "normal to want to pay tribute," writes Rob Macaire, especially since "some of the victims were British."
On Saturday evening, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab announced, without further details, that Rob Macaire had been arrested. "The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without foundation or explanation is a blatant violation of international law," he said. According to the Daily Mail , the ambassador was arrested for allegedly "inciting" demonstrators in Tehran who expressed their anger at the authorities after the disaster, many of whose victims were Iranian.
A vigil which has turned into a manifestation of anger
He was released about an hour later, the source said. As of midday Sunday, Iranian authorities had made no statement about the incident. During the night, the Iranian agency Tasnim, close to the ultra-conservatives, reported that the ambassador had been detained for several hours. According to the agency, he was interrogated for his involvement in "suspicious acts" during a rally outside the Amir Kabir University in Tehran.
Iranian police dispersed students there on Saturday evening chanting "destructive" and "radical" slogans at a rally in memory of the crash victims, according to Fars, an agency close to the ultra-conservatives. The rally turned into a manifestation of anger. The crowd launched slogans denouncing "the liars" and demanding prosecution of those responsible for the drama and those who, according to the demonstrators, tried to cover it up.
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