Robert Macaire (diplomat)

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Robert Macaire

Robert Macaire (diplomat).jpg
Macaire in 2018
Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran
Assumed office
14 March 2018[1]
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byNicholas Hopton
Personal details
Born (1966-02-19) 19 February 1966 (age 53)
Spouse(s)Alice (née Mackenzie)
EducationSt Edmund Hall, Oxford (MA)

Robert Nigel Paul Macaire CMG (born 19 February 1966) is a British diplomat who has been the UK's Ambassador to Iran since 2018.[2]

Macaire has held a number of senior posts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and prior to his Iran posting he was the Director of Political Risk in BG Group plc.


Rob Macaire joined the Ministry of Defence in 1987, and worked on a number of issues including procurement policy and supporting Special Forces, before transferring to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1990. His first diplomatic posting was in Bucharest, Romania from 1991 to 1995. He returned to the UK to work on the Middle East, following which he was posted to Washington, as First Secretary Middle East and Counter Terrorism, from 1998-2002. This included dealing with the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.[citation needed]

In 2002 Macaire returned to London to head the Counter Terrorism Policy Department in the Foreign Office[3] in the immediate post 9/11 period. He served as Political Counsellor in New Delhi, India from 2004 to 2006, during which time he led a team responding to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Phuket, Thailand. He returned to London as Director of Consular Services,[4] responsible for all support to UK nationals abroad, including crisis response. In 2008 he was appointed British High Commissioner to Nairobi, Kenya, where he served until 2011. In Nairobi, he was involved among other things with Kenyans’ efforts to fight corruption in their country,[5][6][7] support for Kenya’s new constitution in 2010,[8] and was responsible for UK dealings with Somalia, including kidnap and hijack cases.[9]

Macaire has also worked as Director of Political Risk in BG Group plc.[10]

On 14 March 2018 the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced Rob Macaire as the new envoy to Tehran, replacing Nicholas Hopton.[2]

Arrest in Iran[edit]

Macaire was arrested on 11 January 2020 during protests in Tehran about the shooting down of Flight 752 to Ukraine, but released shortly afterwards.[11][12] In reaction, the FCO described his arrest as "a flagrant violation of international law", and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab suggested that Iran was engaged in a "march to pariah status".[13] Macaire maintained he did not attend a protest, but a vigil for victims of the plane crash and noted that "arresting diplomats is of course illegal".[14]

Iranian judges called on the government to expell Macaire by declaring him persona non grata as placards and cutouts of him were burnt in the capital Tehran.[15] This is not thought to be a formal declaration and so does not have any legal standing.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Macaire was educated at Cranleigh School and won an Exhibition to St Edmund Hall, Oxford (MA Modern History). In 1996, he married Alice (née Mackenzie). While they were stationed in Kenya, Alice founded and chaired the initiative which resulted in the transformation of the Karura Forest.[16] They have two daughters.[17]


  1. ^ "Change of Her Majesty's Ambassador to Iran: Rob Macaire". GOV.UK.
  2. ^ a b "UK changes ambassador to Tehran". Mehr News Agency. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  3. ^ Office, Great Britain Diplomatic Service Administration; Office, Great Britain: Foreign and Commonwealth (12 January 2004). "The Diplomatic Service List". Stationery Office – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Home Affairs Committee Press Release". UK Parliament.
  5. ^ "UK piles pressure for Gichuru, Okemo extradition". Daily Nation.
  6. ^ "Envoys demand answers on graft in Kenya". Daily Nation.
  7. ^ "20 Kenyans banned from going to UK". Daily Nation.
  8. ^ "Envoy's high point was referendum results". Daily Nation.
  9. ^ "Britain rules out paying ransom to pirates". Daily Nation.
  10. ^ "Rob Macaire CMG". Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  11. ^ Claire Corkery (12 January 2020). "UK ambassador to Iran arrested - British government". The National. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  12. ^ BNO (12 January 2020). "British ambassador Rob Macaire briefly arrested at Tehran protest". BNO News. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  13. ^ BBC (12 January 2020). "Iran plane crash: UK ambassador arrested in Tehran". BBC News. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  14. ^ Wintour, Patrick (12 January 2020). "UK ambassador to Iran denies he joined Tehran street protests". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  15. ^ a b Safi, Michael (14 January 2020). "Iran calls for expulsion of UK ambassador as arrests made over plane crash". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  16. ^ "From battlefield to picnic site". The Standard.
  17. ^ "Rob Macaire CMG". Retrieved 12 January 2020.

External links[edit]

Media related to Robert Macaire (diplomat) at Wikimedia Commons

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Adam Wood
British High Commissioner to Kenya
Succeeded by
Peter Harris Tibber
Preceded by
Nicholas Hopton
British Ambassador to Iran
Succeeded by