British ambassador arrested after haircut in Tehran slams Iranian authorities for his 'illegal' detention

George Martin

The British ambassador to Iran has hit out at the country’s authorities after he was arrested following a haircut in Tehran.

Rob Macaire tweeted on Sunday to confirm he “wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations” after he was taken into custody on his way back to the British embassy.

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Rob Macaire, speak during joint press conference  in Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, Dec. 15 , 2010. Officials from the U.K., Canada and UNICEF are demanding that the Kenyan government prosecute corrupt officials who stole money earmarked to help send poor children to school. Alistair Fernie of the British Department for International Development said Wednesday that no more British money would be channeled through Kenya's Education Ministry. Representatives from the Canadian High Commission, World Bank and UNICEF agreed. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Rob Macaire said he had been at a vigil for the victims of the PS752 plane crash. (AP)

His arrest on Saturday came as a wave of anti-government demonstrations broke out across the country following the admission Iranian forces had accidentally brought down a Ukrainian airliner killing all 176 people on board.

Mr Macaire said he had been at a vigil on Saturday afternoon for the victims of the crash, but he left after it turned into an anti-government protest.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, left, arrives to meet with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to discuss the situation in Libya at the EEAS building in Brussels, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. The ministers will also hold talks later Tuesday which are expected to center on the situation in Iran and Iraq. (Francois Lenoir, Pool Photo via AP)
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the arrest was a "flagrant violation" of international law. (AP)

“Thanks for the many goodwill messages. Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations!” he tweeted.

“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.

“Detained half an hour after leaving the area. Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries. See comments by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.”

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Mr Raab warned Iran on Saturday it is danger of becoming an international “pariah” after the British ambassador was arrested during anti-government protests in Tehran.

Mr Raab said the detention of Rob Macaire and 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.

In a statement, Mr Raab said: “The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law.

“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 de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards.”

According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency Mr Macaire was one of a number of people arrested outside the university on suspicion of organising, provoking, and directing radical actions.

He was picked up as he was trying to make his way back to the embassy – although it is not clear by whom.