Iranian authorities briefly detained Britain's ambassador in Tehran on Saturday. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Iranian authorities briefly detained Britain's ambassador in Tehran on Saturday, according to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, after he was reportedly arrested during protests against the regime. The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law," Raab said in a statement after the detention of Rob Macaire.
The minister warned Iran that it was "at a cross-roads moment", and had to choose between "its march towards pariah status" or "take steps to de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards."
The United States called on Iran to apologise for detaining the British ambassador to Tehran, reportedly during protests against the regime.
"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," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus tweeted.
Why is Iran Protesting?
Iran on Saturday admitted that it shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8 killing 176 onboard. The ‘confession’ will trigger more trouble for Tehran. ‘Regretting’ the crash, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered ‘condolences’ to the families of the victims. “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752 (sic),” Rouhani said on Twitter. “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said in another tweet.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif termed the development as ‘sad day’. Using a heartbreak emoji, Zarif tweeted, “A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”
Iran had denied for several days that a missile caused the crash. But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran shot down the aircraft with a surface-to-air missile, a conclusion supported by videos of the incident. The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. The Canadian government had earlier lower the nation's death toll from 63.