British Ambassador to Iran's arrest branded as 'flagrant violation of international law by Raab

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

Dominic Raab warned Iran it risks becoming an international “pariah

The UK ambassador to Iran was arrested during anti-government protests in Tehran after officials admitted shooting down a passenger plane.

Dominic Raab warned Iran it risks becoming an international “pariah”

It is understood that the ambassador was attending a vigil for the victims of the crash at the Amir Kabir University. However the event quickly turned into an anti-government protest at which point he was said to have left.

The Iranian Etemad newspaper shared a picture of the ambassador on Twitter after the Tasnim news agency reported his arrest.

Iranian media claimed Mr Macaire was accused of inciting anti-government protests.

The foreign secretary said the detention of Rob Macaire, without any grounds or explanation, was a “flagrant violation” of international law. He said Tehran was at a crossroads, with the prospect of continuing political and economic isolation unless it engages diplomatically with the west.

The incident has threatened to reignite tensions in the region just as they appeared to be easing.

Vigil for the victims of the crash at the Amir Kabir University (AFP via Getty)

Iran initially denied responsibility for Wednesday's crash.However, President Hassan Rouhani admitted Iranian military had "unintentionally" shot down the passenger plane after mistaking it for a cruise missile when it turned towards a sensitive military site.

President Rouhani said the missile strike was an "unforgivable mistake".

The crash came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of its top commander, Gen Qassem Suleimani, by an American drone.

The missile strikes failed to cause any casualties and the US president, Donald Trump, indicated he would respond by tightening sanctions rather than with further military action.