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Iranian protesters burn an effigy of arrested UK ambassador Rob Macaire as the country's judiciary declare him 'persona non grata' and call for his expulsion

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 14/01/2020 Daily Mail Reporter

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(Video by Fox News)

Iranian protesters have burned an effigy of the UK's ambassador in Tehran as the country's judiciary warned he is now 'persona non grata'.

Rob Macaire was arrested in the Iranian capital on Saturday after he left a vigil for the 176 killed by Tehran when its military shot down a passenger plane earlier this month. He was held for an hour and then released.

A cardboard cutout of him was burned alongside UK and US flags at Tehran University by regime loyalists. 

Members of the Basij, a militia loyal to the Islamic republic's establishment, burn a cardboard cutout of Britain's ambassador Rob Macaire along a Union Jack and US flag during a memorial for victims of the Ukraine plane crash, at University of Tehran on January 14, 2020. - Iran signalled it could expel Britain's ambassador in case of further "interference" in its affairs after a row over a vigil he attended for those killed in last week's downing of a Ukrainian plane. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images) Members of the Basij, a militia loyal to the Islamic republic's establishment, burn a cardboard cutout of Britain's ambassador Rob Macaire along a Union Jack and US flag during a memorial for victims of the Ukraine plane crash, at University of Tehran on January 14, 2020. - Iran signalled it could expel Britain's ambassador in case of further "interference" in its affairs after a row over a vigil he attended for those killed in last week's downing of a Ukrainian plane. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary, called for Mr Macaire to be expelled for playing a 'provocative role' in protests over the downed Ukrainian jet.

'Under international law, such a person is a 'persona non grata',' Mr Esmaeili told reporters.

'The (Iranian) people expect the person to be expelled and that is also what international law calls for.'  

Mr Macaire was accused of failing to respect the Islamic republic's laws when he attended a vigil for the people killed when Iran accidentally downed a Ukrainian jet. 

TEHRAN, IRAN - JANUARY 12: Protesters chant slogans and hold up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani while burning representations of British and Israeli flags, during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy on January 12, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. A candlelight vigil held late on Saturday in Tehran, to remember the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash, turned into a protest with hundreds of people chanting against the country's leaders including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and police dispersing them with tear gas. Police briefly detained the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, who said he went to the Saturday vigil without knowing it would turn into a protest. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) © 2020 Majid Saeedi TEHRAN, IRAN - JANUARY 12: Protesters chant slogans and hold up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani while burning representations of British and Israeli flags, during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy on January 12, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. A candlelight vigil held late on Saturday in Tehran, to remember the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash, turned into a protest with hundreds of people chanting against the country's leaders including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and police dispersing them with tear gas. Police briefly detained the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, who said he went to the Saturday vigil without knowing it would turn into a protest. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

He was held for about three hours after attending the vigil, with the detention being described by Dominic Raab as 'illegal'. 

However the diplomat said he went to an 'event advertised as a vigil for victims' of the tragedy to pay his respects to the four Britons killed when the aircraft was shot down, but 'left after five mins when some started chanting'.

It came as Boris Johnson yesterday told BBC Breakfast the Iran nuclear deal should be replaced with a 'Trump deal' amid fears the regime could acquire weapons within a year.

a person flying a kite: A cardboard cutout of Mr Macaire, who was arrested in the Iranian capital on Saturday after he left a vigil, was burnt at Tehran University © Provided by Daily Mail A cardboard cutout of Mr Macaire, who was arrested in the Iranian capital on Saturday after he left a vigil, was burnt at Tehran University

The Foreign Office was understood on Tuesday evening to have not been informed of the latest escalation by Iran through official channels.

The rising diplomatic tensions came as the UK, France and Germany accused Tehran of breaching the terms of the Iran nuclear deal. 

Tensions have soared with Iran since the U.S. president pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

TEHRAN, IRAN - JANUARY 12: Protesters chant slogans while holding up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy on January 12, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. A candlelight vigil held late on Saturday in Tehran, to remember the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash, turned into a protest with hundreds of people chanting against the country's leaders including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and police dispersing them with tear gas. Police briefly detained the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, who said he went to the Saturday vigil without knowing it would turn into a protest.  (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) © 2020 Majid Saeedi TEHRAN, IRAN - JANUARY 12: Protesters chant slogans while holding up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy on January 12, 2020 in Tehran, Iran. A candlelight vigil held late on Saturday in Tehran, to remember the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash, turned into a protest with hundreds of people chanting against the country's leaders including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and police dispersing them with tear gas. Police briefly detained the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, who said he went to the Saturday vigil without knowing it would turn into a protest. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

The foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany issued a joint statement saying Iran was 'not meeting its commitments' over the pact.

It added that they were referring the matter to the dispute resolution mechanism.

The JCPOA lifted sanctions on Iran for agreeing to restrictions on its nuclear activity to ensure Tehran did not acquire a nuclear weapon.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard admitted accidentally shooting down the Ukrainian jet, killing all those on board, despite initial denials.

Photos: US-Iran tensions and protests around the world (Picture Services)

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