UK Ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire departed Tehran Tuesday night by airplane via the Qatari capital of Doha, IRIB news agency correspondent Ameneh Sadat Zbihpour has reported.
The news comes a day after Iranian judicial spokesman Gholam Hossein Ismaili said Tehran was considering expelling the ambassador, saying the Iranian people “and the international community expect[ed] him to be expelled from the country”.
Macaire raised the ire of Iranian officials on Saturday after being spotted at an unauthorized protest in Tehran in reaction to the country’s admission that the Revolutionary Guards air defense troops had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian aircraft, mistaking it for an incoming US missile amid tensions with Washington over the assassination of IRGC’s Quds Force Commander General Qassem Suleimani.
The British ambassador denied taking part in any protests, saying Sunday that he came to “pay respects” to the victims of the plane crash, and reporting that he had left the scene after five minutes.
But Iranian media later released footage Monday showing the envoy attending the protest, surrounded by a mob of unidentified individuals.
Macaire was detained by Iranian authorities for several hours, with Iran calling his actions completely unacceptable.
The British Foreign Office blasted Tehran over the arrest, calling Macaire’s detention a “flagrant violation of international law,” and summoning Iran’s ambassador to the UK.