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Ambassador arrest in Tehran violates int’l law, UK says

LONDON

The arrest of U.K.’s ambassador to Iran is a “flagrant violation of international law,” British foreign secretary said Saturday.

“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards,” Dominic Raab said in a statement.

The statement came shortly after reports of British Ambassador Rob Macaire’s brief detention during a protest following Iran’s admission a Ukrainian passenger jet was shot down by mistake.

The ambassador was detained during a protest Amirkabir University in Tehran but was released after an-hour-long detention, according to local reports.

Iran’s admission ‘important step’

Iran’s admission that it shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane by mistake last week is “an important step,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday.

“This will be an incredibly difficult time for all those families who lost loved ones in such tragic circumstances,” Johnson said in a statement, adding his government would do anything to support the families of four British victims and “to ensure they get the answers and closure they deserve.”

He said: “We now need a comprehensive, transparent and independent international investigation and the repatriation of those who died.”

Johnson said the U.K. will work closely with Canada, Ukraine and “our other international partners affected by this accident to ensure this happens.”

The British premier added that the “tragic accident only reinforces the importance of de-escalating tensions in the region.”

“We can all see very clearly that further conflict will only lead to more loss and tragedy. It is vital that all leaders now pursue a diplomatic way forward,” he added.

Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said Saturday a Ukrainian aircraft was “accidentally” hit by an Iranian missile early this week that killed 176 people on board.

In a written statement, the top military authority said as a result of a “human error”, the plane was accidentally shot down by the air defense system while it was passing over a “sensitive military point.”.

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