Araghchi to brief MPs on British envoy’s presence in rally

January 18, 2020 - 20:5

TEHRAN — Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi is scheduled to attend a meeting of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee to brief MPs on the illegal presence of the British ambassador in an anti-government rally in Tehran, committee spokesman Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said on Saturday.

Naqavi Hosseini said some representatives from the police will also participate in the parliamentary committee meeting, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Ambassador Rob Macaire was temporarily arrested for participating in the “illegal gathering” in Tehran on January 11.

The ambassador was summoned for his “unconventional behavior and presence” in the illegal gatherings, the Foreign Ministry said on January 12.

The British diplomat was reminded that his presence in illegal gatherings has no conformity with his responsibility as his country’s political representative in Iran and that his behavior is in contrast to the 1961 Vienna convention on diplomatic relationship, the ministry said.

Araghchi has said Macaire was temporarily arrested for participating in the “illegal gathering” in Tehran.

“He wasn't detained but arrested as an unknown foreigner in an illegal gathering. When police informed me a man's arrested who claims to be UK Amb, I said IMPOSSIBLE! only after my phone conversation w him I identified, out of big surprise, that it's him. 15 min later he was free,” Araghchi tweeted on January 12.

The comments came in response to a recent tweet by head of European Union foreign policy Josep Borrell who expressed concerns over the envoy’s “temporary detention”.

“Very concerned about the temporary detention of the UK Ambassador @HMATehran in Iran. Full respect of the Vienna convention is a must. The EU calls for de-escalation and space for diplomacy,” Borrell wrote.

According to Iranian media, Macaire left Tehran for London a few days after his brief detention.

Macaire’s departure has taken place with prior notice and based on diplomatic protocol, Press TV reported.

The Iranian Judiciary has referred to Macaire as “persona non grata” and demanded that the ambassador be expelled over his unacceptable conduct, but noted that the final decision on the matter rested with the Foreign Ministry.

“The fact that the British ambassador to the Islamic Republic attends an illegal gathering, takes photos and videos of the event and plays a provocative role is totally unacceptable,” Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, the Judiciary spokesman, said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

MH/PA

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