British ambassador to Iran arrested amid protests against Khamenei over plane downing

A group of Iranian protesters demanded Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei step down on Saturday. (Screenshot/Twitter)
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Updated 12 January 2020

British ambassador to Iran arrested amid protests against Khamenei over plane downing

  • Videos posted on Twitter showed hundreds of people chanting
  • Protesters demanded stepping down after Ukrainian plane incident

TEHRAN: The British ambassador to Iran was arrested on Saturday amid protests demanding Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei step down after Tehran said its military had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian plane, killing 176 people.

Robert Macaire was present during demonstrations in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir University and was arrested after allegedly “inciting” a crowd, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported.




Robert Macaire was detained for several hours, according to reports.(UK Government)

The 53-year-old was released after several hours.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the arrest was without grounds or explanation and a "flagrant violation of international law."

Videos posted on Twitter showed hundreds of people chanting “Commander-in-chief (Khamenei) resign, resign”  in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir university.

 

 

In a message to the protesters, Donald Trump said the US was following the demonstrations closely and was "inspired by your courage."

"To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you." he said on Twitter.

Iran announced Saturday that its military “unintentionally” shot down the jetliner, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations that it was responsible.

The plane was shot down early Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad.

No one was wounded in the attack on the bases.


Iraq’s foreign minister makes first visit to Iran

Updated 26 September 2020

Iraq’s foreign minister makes first visit to Iran

  • Iran sees neighboring Iraq as a possible route to bypass US sanctions that President Donald Trump re-imposed in 2018

TEHRAN: Iraq’s foreign minister arrived Saturday in Tehran for bilateral talks with senior Iranian officials, according to the state-run news agency.
IRNA reported that Fuad Hussein planned to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani, in what marked his first visit to the Iranian capital.
Zarif visited Baghdad in mid-July, when he met with Hussein and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. It was Zarif’s first visit to Iraq since a US airstrike in January killed a top Iranian general, Qassim Soleimani, outside Baghdad’s international airport. The strike catapulted Iraq to the brink of a US-Iran proxy war that could have destabilized the Middle East.
After Zarif’s trip, the Iraqi premier visited Iran in July.
The report did not elaborate on the main reasons behind the top Iraqi diplomat’s two-day trip to Tehran.
Iran sees neighboring Iraq as a possible route to bypass US sanctions that President Donald Trump re-imposed in 2018 after pulling the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Last year, Iran’s exports to Iraq amounted to nearly $9 billion, the official IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday. It said the two nations will discuss increasing the amount to $20 billion.
Before the current global pandemic, some 5 million Iranian pilgrims annually brought in nearly $5 billion visiting Iraq’s Shiite holy sites.
Iran has seen the worst outbreak in the region, with more than 443,000 thousand confirmed cases and at least 25,300 deaths.
A news website affiliated with Iranian state TV, yjc.ir, reported that Iran canceled all its flights to Iraqi cities until the religious holiday of Arbaeen, due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The holiday marks the end of the forty days of mourning that follow annually on the death anniversary of the seventh-century Muslim leader Hussein, who was killed at the Battle of Karbala during the tumultuous first century of Islam’s history.
Iran fought an eight-year war with Iraq that killed nearly 1 million people on both sides, after former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded in the early 1980s.