Accessibility links

Breaking News

British Envoy In Iran Summoned By Foreign Ministry After Being Briefly Detained

Robert Macaire, British envoy to Iran, meeting foreign minister Javad Zarif. Undated. FILE PHOTO

One day after being briefly detained by security forces during public vigils and protests in Iran, the UK envoy Rob Macaire was called to the foreign ministry on Sunday.

Iran summoned him 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.

The Ukrainian airliner was downed in the early morning of January 8 as it took off from Tehran’s international airport, bound for Kyiv with 176 people aboard. All perished in the subsequent crash.

Iranians decided to hold vigils and protests Saturday afternoon to voice their anger at the government for initially denying the armed forces shot down the plane. For three days, Islamic republic officials were insisting no one fired at the aircraft.

Britain said earlier that its ambassador in Iran had been briefly detained on Saturday, which Iranian media said was because he was inciting anti-government protests.

"Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations!" Macaire tweeted later. "Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of [flight] #PS752 tragedy," he wrote. "Normal to want to pay respects - some of victims were British."

Protests that started Saturday continued on Sunday and expected to grow to more rallies later in the evening.

With reporting by Reuters, DPA