No government tolerates subversive protests, says Motahari

January 15, 2020 - 19:50

TEHRAN — No government would tolerate protests with subversive agendas, says MP Ali Motahari.

“In the event that these gatherings go on and protesters resort to acts of aggression and pursue subversive agendas, they need to be dealt with,” Motahari said on Wednesday, according to Mehr.

“These gatherings and chanting of slogans is natural to a certain degree,” he said, pointing to the recent accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane by Iran’s military.

“Students are upset and they want to make their protest heard by the authorities and shout,” he said.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces issued a statement on Saturday saying that the Ukrainian plane crash was caused by a “human error”.

“The Ukrainian passenger plane was hit unintentionally and due to human error, which unfortunately led to the martyrdom of a number of our people and also a number of foreign nationals,” the statement read.

The incident sparked sporadic rallies in some universities, including Tehran University, Amirkabir University of Technology, Shahid Beheshti University and Tehran University of Art.

Motahari said protests to this extent must be tolerated so that the protesters would be able to voice their grievances.

However, he continued, if the gatherings are held to pursue subversive agendas, then no government would tolerate this.

He also commented on the presence of the British Ambassador Rob Macaire in the rallies, saying, “It is not clear why he participated in these gatherings.” 

“His action was amateur, undiplomatic and unprofessional,” he added.

Macaire, who was arrested briefly by Iran during demonstrations in Tehran on Saturday, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Sunday afternoon.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the ambassador was summoned for his “unconventional behavior and presence” in the illegal gatherings.

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

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi said Ambassador 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 Sunday.

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.

Motahari said Britain must not be the one to complain, rather, it needs to apologize.