U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab criticized Iran and warned that it could become an international “pariah” after the British ambassador to the country was arrested during protests in Tehran.
Ambassador Rob Macaire reported he was “safe and well” in the British embassy after being detained for over an hour by Iranian authorities Saturday, the Guardian reported.
His arrest came as anti-government protesters filled the streets of the city after the Iranian government admitted that it mistakenly shot down a Kyiv-bound commercial airplane.
Raab said in a Saturday statement that, “The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law."
“The Iranian government is at a crossroads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards,” he continued
The ambassador was attending a vigil for the victims of the crash at Amir Kabir University. Although the ambassador tried to leave as the event turned into a protest, he was arrested outside of the university on suspicion of organizing, provoking and directing radical actions, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, the Guardian reported.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tweeted Saturday, “The Iranian regime arrested the British ambassador to Iran. This violates the Vienna Convention, which the regime has a notorious history of violating. We call on the regime to formally apologize to the UK for violating his rights and to respect the rights of all diplomats.”
The Iranian regime arrested the British ambassador to Iran. This violates the Vienna Convention, which the regime has a notorious history of violating. We call on the regime to formally apologize to the UK for violating his rights and to respect the rights of all diplomats.— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) January 11, 2020
Iran confirmed that it had brought down Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 by mistake shortly after it took off, calling it a “disastrous mistake.” All 176 people on board died.