A large number of Iranian students and seminaries gathered in front of the British embassy in Tehran on Sunday to protest at the envoy’s participation and role in last night protest rallies, calling for his expulsion.
British Ambassador to Tehran Robert Macaire had been briefly detained during a Saturday night protest in front of the Amir Kabir University in downtown Tehran where he was organizing and provoking tens of protesters upset with the government’s way of handling the aftermaths of the Ukrainian plane incident earlier this week.
The Iranian students and seminaries who had gathered in front of the British embassy on Sunday chanted ‘death to Britain’, ‘we do not want British spy’, ‘the British nuclear deal should be annihilated’ and ‘the British embassy should be closed’.
They also carried images of IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani who was assassinated by the US in Iraq, and voiced strong support for the IRGC.
A senior Iranian legislator blasted Macaire for participating and promoting the protest rally, calling on him to end his interference in Iran’s internal affairs.
“The undue presence of the British ambassador in some gatherings is a flagrant interference in Iran’s affairs and it should be studied at the parliament, specially the National Security Commission,” Hossein Ali Haji Deligani said, addressing an open session of the parliament in Tehran on Sunday.
“I call on the British envoy to end his interference and leave Iran before the Iranian nation forces him to leave,” he added.
Reports said that Macaire had been holding secret meetings inside a shop opposite the main gate of the Amir Kabir University to monitor the developments that led to the protest on Saturday.
The General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said in a statement on Saturday that the Ukrainian Boeing 737 plane was shot down as a hostile object due to human error at a time of heightened US threats of war.
The statement said an expert investigation by the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces after the Ukrainian airline company’s Boeing 737 incident has found that flight 752 of the Ukrainian airlines has been shot down as a hostile flying object that was approaching a sensitive IRGC center and was shot down due to human error few hours after Iran’s missile attack on the US and as Iran’s military was expecting attacks by the US army.
A Boeing 737 plane carrying 180 passengers and crew, mostly Iranians, crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran early Wednesday, leaving no survivors.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in a message on Saturday extended his condolences again on the death of the Ukrainian plane’s passengers, and ordered the Armed Forces to take the needed measures to find faults and flaws that have led to the bitter incident and prevent repetition of similar incidents in future.
In his message, the Leader renewed his most heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the bereaved families of the victims, and reiterated his “order to the General Staff of the Armed Forces to probe into possible faults and flaws in this painful accident,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
He also underscored the need for the relevant Iranian directors and officials to launch the necessary follow-ups to prevent repetition of such incidents in future.
Also, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani extended condolences to the families of those killed in the Ukrainian plane incident, and promised that all those who have been guilty in the unforgivable mistake of shooting down the jet will be prosecuted.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake… My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” Rouhani said in a statement on Saturday.
The president stressed that “the terrible catastrophe should be thoroughly investigated, and those responsible for this unforgivable mistake will definitely be identified and prosecuted”.