my thought is that the ambassador will not present himself to police today as he will (vainly) claim immunity

In Tehran, the British Ambassador detained
Colonel Cassad, Jan 11 2020

The Middle East does not get boring. In Tehran, security forces detained, or according to others, arrested the British Ambassador Rob Macaire, who took part in protests against the Iranian government at AmirKabir University and sang anti-government chants in the crowd. The Ambassador argues that he just came to watch the protest and take pictures of it. Later, he was released. The Ambassador was forced to surrender the footage. An Iranian MP said that Ambassador wet himself during the arrest. Of course, if the Iranians aren’t trolling, make him a meme hero (быть ему героем мемов). Tomorrow he’s officially summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry about this story. The Ambassador is charged with incitement to riot. Meanwhile, Pindostan officially threatens to block Iraq’s main account at the Federal Reserve of NY, through which are operations with the international oil trade. In fact, Pindostan threatened to take away Iraq’s money stored in a Pindo Bank. Another naive figures, which have learned nothing from the example of Venezuela and other countries. The money deposited in a Pindo Bank, which means that they can block/withdraw at any time under one pretext or another. We are talking about at least $3b in Federal Reserve Bank of NY in 2015. Pindostan has tightened the noose around the neck of Iraq, suspending access to the account at the Federal Reserve Bank. It is not difficult to guess, having failed in the voting in the Parliament due to the lack of political influence, Pindostan is trying to use economic levers of pressure on Iraq to force it to abandon the decision on the withdrawal of Pindo troops. In fact, this is the most banal blackmail: please change your decision or we’ll take away your money. Folks, keep your money in a Savings Bank. And don’t keep it in a Pindo Bank.

Iran summons UK ambassador amid row over his arrest
Patrick Wintour, Nazi Groon, Jan 12 2020

The British ambassador to Iran has been summoned to explain what he was doing near the site of an anti-government protest, Iran’s foreign ministry has said. Rob Macaire was called to the ministry of foreign affairs after police arrested him on Saturday as demonstrations broke out in Tehran over the shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner by Iranian forces. Tehran said it had summoned Macaire to justify his “illegal and inappropriate presence” at the protest, despite the ambassador denying he had taken part. Meanwhile a small group of pro-regime protesters gathered outside the UK embassy calling for its closure. The latest move has threatened to further escalate the tensions between London and Tehran after the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, denounced Macaire’s detention as a “flagrant violation” of international law. Macaire, who was released shortly after Iranian diplomatic officials learned of his arrest, tweeted that he had attended what was advertised as a vigil, left after five minutes as it began to turn into a protest, and was detained 30 minutes later as he made his way back to the embassy. He said it was normal to wish to pay respects, adding that some of the 176 who died were British.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister tweeted:

A group of Basiji gathered outside the UK embassy to chant “death to England” and demand the embassy’s closure. The group was relatively small, but the cowardly diplomats huddled inside described the atmosphere as tense. The UK ambassador to Iran, Hamid Baeidinejad, cast the episode as largely a misunderstanding, saying:

The moment the police has been informed of the identity of the UK ambassador, he has been freed. Misinformation is a major source of misunderstanding and detrimental to tranquillity.

Tasnim said Macaire had been arrested for “organising suspicious movements and protests in front of Amirkabir University but released after hours.” It added that he would be summoned by the foreign ministry on Sunday to explain why he was provoking “radical acts amongst the protesters.” The report claimed that an informed police source said he was using “a shop which is located in front of the main gate of Amirkabir University as the envoy’s secret place for coordination.” A separate report said the vigil turned into a protest, which is largely the explanation given by the ambassador. Raab said:

The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law. The Iranian government is at a crossroads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomacy.

Some Iranian Majlis members called for Macaire to be expelled from the country. Rep Alireza Salimi said:

It is strange that the British ambassador was present in the riots last night and finally came out of the curtain. We did not know whether the British embassy building was an embassy or a chaos command centre, an embassy or counter-revolutionary organisation.

Protests pile pressure on Iran after admission of plane strike
Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, Jan 12 2020

DUBAI – Iranian protesters and newspapers piled pressure on the country’s leadership and riot police stepped up their presence in Tehran on Sunday after Iran’s military admitted that it had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner. Riot police fired teargas at thousands of Iranians who had taken to the streets late on Saturday in the capital and other cities, many chanting “Death to the dictator,” directing their anger at Ayatollah Khamenei. Images and reports of the protests were carried by state-affiliated news agencies, alongside videos on social media. Tehran residents told Reuters that police had stepped up their presence in the capital on Sunday morning. “Apologise and resign,” Iran’s moderate Etemad daily wrote in a banner headline on Sunday, saying the “people’s demand” was for those responsible for mishandling the plane crisis to quit. Protests erupted after Saturday’s admission that the military accidentally shot down the plane minutes after take-off on Wednesday, when Iranian forces were alert for Pindo reprisals after tit-for-tat strikes. For days Iranian officials had vigorously denied it was to blame, even as Canada and Pindostan said their intelligence indicated an Iranian missile was to blame, albeit probably fired in error. Iran’s president said it was a “disastrous mistake” and apologised. But a top IRGC commander added to public anger about the delayed admission when he said he had told the authorities a missile hit the plane the day it crashed. Another moderate daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami wrote in an editorial:

Those who delayed publishing the reason behind the plane crash and damaged people’s trust in the establishment should be dismissed or should resign.

Criticism of the authorities in Iran is not unusual, but it tends to stay in narrow boundaries. The press attacks and protests add to challenges facing the establishment, which in November faced the country’s bloodiest unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution. As Saturday’s protests spread across Iran, including major cities such as Shiraz, Isfahan, Hamedan and Orumiyeh, Trump said on Twitter, posting his tweets in both Farsi and English:

We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage. There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.

Britain said its ambassador in Iran had been briefly detained on Saturday by the authorities in Tehran. A news agency said he was detained outside a university for inciting protests. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called it “a flagrant violation of international law.” He said:

The Iranian government is at a crossroads 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.

Protests inside Iran followed a build up of tension between Iran and the United States, which withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and then re-imposed sanctions that have steadily crippled the Iranian economy. On Jan 3, a Pindo drone strike in Iraq killed prominent Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, responsible for building up Iran’s network of regional proxy armies in Iraq and beyond, and Tehran responded with missile strikes on Pindo targets in Iraq. No Pindo soldiers were killed, but in the tense hours after that, the Ukrainian Boeing 737 was cleared to take off from Tehran airport and then brought down by a missile fired in error by an operator who mistook the plane for an attacker. Public fury at Iran’s authorities grew as questions about the plane crash mounted. Iranians on social media asked why officials were busy fending off criticism from abroad rather than sympathising with grieving families. Others asked why the plane was allowed to take off at a time of high tension. Amirali Hajizadeh, a senior commander of the IRGC, said he had asked for civilian planes to be grounded but his request was not heeded. Soleimani’s death in a Pindo drone strike had drawn huge crowds of mourners on to the streets in Iran, which Iranian officials said showed public support for the leadership, but Saturday’s protests and the public reaction to the downed airliner have shattered the image of national solidarity. Demonstrators tore up pictures of the slain general.

UK envoy to Tehran briefly detained for ‘inciting & directing’ anti-govt protesters at Amirkabir University, Jan 11 2020

British Ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire was briefly detained outside of Amirkabir University in Tehran for questioning over his alleged role in “inciting and directing” anti-government protesters, Tasnim News Agency reports. The diplomat was among a group of people detained while seeking to “to organize, instigate and direct some radical and destructive actions,” according to the Tehran-based news agency. He was released several hours later, but will reportedly be summoned on Sunday for further questioning. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the incident with the British diplomat a “flagrant violation of international law,” insisting that Macaire was detained without any “grounds or explanation” for simply taking photos of a peaceful rally. Tehran has yet to issue official comments. Hundreds of people flocked to universities in Iran earlier on Saturday for vigils and protests after Tehran admitted to accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian plane with 176 on board, many of whom were Iranian students. While many brought flowers and candles, some groups blocked roads and carried banners, chanting anti-government slogans that “apologies and resignations” were not enough, demanding “prosecutions and constitutional changes.”

In the evening, security forces deployed tear gas and water cannon to disperse an agitated crowd that was still chanting slogans outside Amirkabir University of Technology, videos shared online show. An unspecified number of activists were detained, the British envoy allegedly among them.

Protests, vigils at Iran universities after Tehran admits it shot Ukrainian plane down, Jan 11 2020

Videos from Tehran show crowds holding vigils and protests at universities after Iran admitted shooting down a Ukrainian plane with 176 on board. Many of the passengers were Iranian students. People were lighting candles and bringing flowers to several universities in Tehran. One banner among the many in the crowd read:

What is the costs of the war with the world? what is the cost of lying? #condolence to Iran.

Hundreds of people can be seen outside the University of Amirkabir taking to the streets and chanting “there should be a trial! Resignations are not enough!” and “constitution, referendum!”

Vigils and demonstrations were also held at Tehran and Sharif universities. The plane that was shot down carried many college students.

British ambassador arrested at Tehran demonstration
Press Association (UK), Jan 11 2020

Dominic Raab has warned Iran it risks becoming an international “pariah” after the British ambassador was arrested during anti-government protests in Tehran. The foreign secretary said the detention of Rob Macaire, without any grounds or explanation, was a “flagrant violation” of international law. He said Tehran was at a crossroads, with the prospect of continuing political and economic isolation unless it engages diplomatically with the west. Macaire was said to be “safe and well” in the British embassy after he was released after more than an hour in custody. His arrest came as a wave of anti-government demonstrations broke out across the country following the admission Iranian forces had accidentally brought down a Ukrainian airliner killing all 176 people on board. It is understood that the ambassador had been attending what had been billed as a vigil for the victims of the crash at the Amir Kabir University. However the event quickly turned into an anti-government protest at which point he was said to have left. According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, as he tried to make his way back to the embassy he was one of the people arrested outside the university on suspicion of organising, provoking and directing radical actions. It is unclear who he was arrested by. In a statement, Raab said:

The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law. The Iranian government is at a crossroads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards.

The incident threatened to reignite tensions in the region just as they appeared to be easing. Raab’s intervention came after the Iranians admitted they had brought down the Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 shortly after takeoff, killing all 176 people on board, in a “disastrous mistake.”

Of course, UK will be Pindostan’s #1 attack dog. It’s panting to be let off the leash already, like some filthy pit-bull monster. So don’t be deceived by this:

Britain must prepare to fight wars without Pindo help: Wallace
Press Association (UK), Jan 12 2020

Britain must be prepared to fight future wars without Pindostan as its principal ally, the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said. Wallace said the increasing withdrawal of America from international leadership under Donald Trump meant Britain needed to rethink the assumptions underpinning its defence planning for the past decade. His warning came as Boris Johnson prepares to lead what is being billed as the “deepest review” of Britain’s security, defence and foreign policy since the cold war. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Wallace said:

I worry if Pindostan withdraws from its leadership around the world. That would be bad for the world and bad for us. We must hope for the best and plan for the worst. We should use the defence review to acquire new capabilities, making Britain less dependent on Pindostan in future conflicts. Over the last year we’ve had Pindostan pull out from Syria, the statement by Donald Trump on Iraq where he said NATO should take over and do more in the Middle East. The assumptions of 2010 that we were always going to be part of a Pindo coalition is really just not where we are going to be. We are very dependent on Pindo air cover and Pindo intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. We need to diversify our assets… It keeps me awake at night.

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