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U.K. Says Iran Detained Ambassador as Protests Hit Tehran

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 1/12/2020 Meghan Genovese

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. ambassador to Iran was “briefly detained” by Iranian authorities on Saturday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

Ambassador Rob Macaire was arrested and held for three hours after attending a vigil for the victims of the Tehran plane crash which turned into demonstration, the Telegraph reported.

“The arrest of our Ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law,” Raab said in a statement.

“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads 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.”

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the action was a violation of the Vienna Convention, which ensures immunity and privileges for foreign diplomats.

The event which Macaire attended had been advertised as a vigil at Amir Kabir University for the 176 victims of the Tehran plane crash last week, according to the Telegraph. He and another member of the embassy staff left once the vigil turned into a protest.

Iran’s foreign ministry said on Sunday it summoned Macaire for his “unconventional conduct and presence in illegal gatherings.” It didn’t provide more details.

(Updates with Iran foreign ministry summoning the ambassador in final paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Genovese in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chakradhar Adusumilli at, Tony Czuczka, Linus Chua

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