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Dominic Raab blasts 'flagrant violation' of international law after UK ambassador arrested in Iran

3 min read

Dominic Raab has accused Iran of a "flagrant violation of international law" after the UK's ambassador to the country was arrested.

Rob Macaire was reportedly held for three hours by the Iranian regime after attending a vigil for those killed in the downing of a Ukrainian airplane. 

The vigil later turned into an anti-government protest, with the ambassador leaving the vigil to return to the UK embassy before being detained by Iranian forces and accused of inciting demonstrations against the regime. 

The arrest was heavily criticised by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who warned Iranian leaders they were at a "cross-roads" moment in their relationship with the West.

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

"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."

The arrest came just hours after the Iranian regime admitted it had "unintentionally" shot down a Ukranian passenger jet, killing 176 people, including four Britons.

Iran had initially denied their involvement in the crash, but speaking on Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said "human error" had led to an "unforgivable mistake" which saw the commercial jet mistaken for an enemy missile before being shot down.

Responding to the news, Boris Johnson said the admission was an "important first step" as he called for an independent investigation into the circumstances of crash.

"Iran's admission that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by mistake by its own armed forces is an important first step," he said.

"This will be an incredibly difficult time for all those families who lost loved ones in such tragic circumstances.

"We will do everything we can to support the families of the four British victims and ensure they get the answers and closure they deserve."

He added: "We now need a comprehensive, transparent and independent international investigation and the repartiation of those who died.

"The UK will work closely with Canada, Ukraine and our international partners affected by this accident to ensure this happens.

"We can all see very clearly that further conflict will only lead to more loss and tragedy. It is vital that all leaders now pursue a diplomatic way forward."


Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn likened the shooting down of the Ukranian commercial jet to the US missile strike on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Saturday as he warned against a "spiral of violence" in the region.

Speaking during a "No War With Iran" rally in London, the Labour leader condemened the downing of the jet.

"Let's be clear, there can be no excuses here. This is an appalling act and part of a whole pattern of appalling acts all across the region," he said.

But he added: "There's no excuse for shooting down an airliner, there's no excuse for a targeted assasination by one state against another.

"All this does is set off a spiral of violence and danger which will lead us to yet more wars in the future."

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