Tehran accuses British ambassador Rob Macaire of being present at an "illegal rally" in violation of diplomatic conventions.
Iran threatened Monday evening to expel the British ambassador to Tehran, Rob Macaire, in the event of a new "provocation" from London, two days after the arrest of this diplomat whom the Islamic Republic accuses of having taken part to an "illegal gathering". Tehran "calls for an immediate cessation of any interference or provocation from the British Embassy in Tehran," said the foreign ministry in a statement, warning that "it will not be limited to summoning the ambassador if this attitude persists. "
READ ALSO >> Crash of a Boeing in Iran: three questions on the admission of Tehran
The text was published a few hours after the invitation of the Iranian ambassador in London, Hamid Baeidinejad, to which the Foreign Office expressed its "strong objections" to the brief arrest Saturday night of Rob Macaire, in the vicinity of a demonstration against power in Tehran. The Iranian ministry summoned the British ambassador on Sunday and accused him of being present at an "illegal rally" in violation of diplomatic conventions, demanding that London provide "explanations".
Claiming that he "did not take part in any demonstration" against the authorities, Rob Macaire assured having gone to a rally announced as a vigil in memory of the victims who were on board the Ukrainian plane shot down on January 8 by the Iranian armed forces. "I left after five minutes when some people started to put up slogans," he said. Relations between Iran and the Islamic Republic are historically bad. For the latter, the United Kingdom is almost as much as the United States a representative of Western "imperialism" and "arrogance".
Tense context in Tehran
"The time when the sun did not set on the British Empire is long gone", writes the Iranian ministry, assuring that the Iranian people, "despite all their differences of opinion (…) do not accept l "foreign intervention, in particular that of governments with a colonialist past and support for dictators". Protesters burned a British flag and another Israeli flag outside the British embassy in Tehran on Sunday, shouting "Death to Britain".
READ ALSO >> Plane shot down in Iran: Trump warns of a "new massacre" of demonstrators
The Iranian armed forces admitted to having mistakenly shot down a Boeing 737 of Ukraine International Airlines. The 176 people on board the plane, mostly Iranian and Canadian, perished. Some of the victims were British. The announcement of the armed forces caused an uproar in Iran, after two days of virulent denials opposed by the civil authorities to the thesis of the missile advanced as of January 8 by Ottawa.
Several protests denouncing a state lie and the alleged intention of the authorities to have sought to suppress the truth have taken place since Saturday evening in Tehran. Riot forces remained visible in Tehran on Monday, where new rallies were dispersed on Sunday evening. Iran was already shaken in mid-November by a dispute after the announcement of a sudden and sharp rise in the price of gasoline. The NGO Amnesty International estimates that at least 300 people were killed in the three-day-long crackdown.