Diplomat’s arrest shows Iranian regime again trampling law

Crowd in front of building next to large burning image of man (© Vahid Salemi/AP Images)
Pro-government protesters burn a cutout of U.K. Ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire January 14 in Tehran. Macaire was detained on January 11 after attending a candlelight vigil that turned into a protest. (© Vahid Salemi/AP Images)

In yet another breach of international law, Iran’s regime arrested the United Kingdom’s ambassador after he attended a vigil for victims of the regime’s missile strike on a passenger airliner, including British citizens.

The U.K. foreign secretary, in a statement, denounced the arrest of Ambassador Rob Macaire January 11 in Tehran as “without grounds or explanation” and “a flagrant violation of international law.”

The statement adds that the arrest shows Iran’s leaders on a march toward “pariah status” and urges the regime to embrace diplomacy rather than international isolation.

The ambassador’s arrest is merely the latest example of the Iranian regime’s disregard for the Vienna Convention’s protections for diplomats and the embassies that house them.

The convention, to which Iran is a signatory, says, “A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State.”

The convention also holds that embassies are inviolable. That means a host nation may not enter them without permission and must protect them “against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.”

Yet soon after Iran’s 1979 revolution, radicals stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The clerical regime countenanced this and, even today, hostage-takers retain positions of responsibility in Iran’s government.

Iran’s regime similarly was behind the December 31 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. General Qassem Soleimani was the chief architect. His henchmen, the leaders of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, rallied crowds outside the embassy, encouraging the attack.

Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike January 2, bringing an end to the terrorism and sectarian violence he fueled for decades, causing the deaths of thousands of people.