UK Politics

Effigy of ‘undesirable’ UK ambassador burned in Iran

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Iranian protesters have burned an effigy of the UK's ambassador in Tehran as the country's judiciary called the diplomat an "undesirable element".

Rob Macaire is at the centre of tensions between London and Tehran after he was arrested by police in the Iranian capital on Saturday. He was released about an hour later.

He was detained after attending a vigil for those who were killed in the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane by Iranian forces.

Image: The effigy was burned outside the University of Tehran

The diplomat said he left when chanting began, but Iran ordered him to explain his "illegal and inappropriate" presence at demonstrations.

On Tuesday, in remarks broadcast on state TV, Iran's judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told reporters: "Based on international regulations, the British ambassador in Iran is an undesirable element."

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Prominent hardline Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda was also quoted as saying the expulsion of Mr Macaire would be "the best thing that can happen to him".

He claimed supporters of Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian commander killed by a US drone strike earlier this month, would otherwise "chop him to small pieces".

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Meanwhile, a cardboard cutout of Mr Macaire was burned alongside UK and US flags at the University of Tehran by members of the Basij, a militia loyal to the Iranian regime.

The protest took place during a memorial for passengers of the Ukrainian plane.

An Iranian cleric walking over British and US flags Pic: Shutterstock
Image: An Iranian cleric walks over UK and US flags Pic: Shutterstock

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government had received "no formal indication" that Mr Macaire will be expelled from Iran.

He told the House of Commons: "It would be deeply regrettable if that were the case."

"We need to keep the diplomatic channels open, and futile gestures liRead More – Source