British Ambassador Detained Briefly While Attending Tehran Vigil for Jet-Crash Victims

Britain’s ambassador to Tehran has said he was detained briefly by Iranian authorities as he attended a vigil for the victims of last week’s crash of a Ukrainian passenger jet.Iran’s Mehr news agency said Rob Macaire was arrested on Saturday for his alleged “involvement in provoking suspicious acts” at the gathering in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir University.People gather for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, at the gate of Amri Kabir University that some of the victims of the crash were former students of, in Tehran, Jan. 11, 2020.Students held a gathering at the school after Iran said the Ukrainian airliner was downed by mistake by Iranian antiaircraft missiles.In a post to Twitter Sunday, Macaire said he attended the event to pay respects to the victims, and was not attending any demonstration.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, 2020The British Foreign Ministry called Macaire’s detention “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 deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards,” the ministry said.Iranian officials did not immediately make any statement about the incident.More protests were expected later on Sunday, amid building outrage among some Iranians about the downing of the Ukrainian jet.

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