Iran protests: French President Emmanuel Macron asks counterpart Hassan Rouhani for 'restraint'

Macron's office underscored that the fundamental rights of Iranian people including freedom of expression and freedom to demonstrate need to be respected.

Published: 03rd January 2018 06:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd January 2018 08:02 AM   |  A+A-

French president Emmanuel Macron (File |AP)

By AFP

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron today expressed his concern over unrest in Iran during a telephone conversation with counterpart Hassan Rouhani and called for "restraint and appeasement," his office said.

Macron brought up "the number of victims from the demonstrations", and the two leaders also decided to postpone French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's visit to Teheran this week to a later date, the Elysee said.

Twenty-one people have died and hundreds have been arrested in nearly a week of protests in Iran.

Macron's office said the French leader underscored that "fundamental rights including freedom of expression and freedom to demonstrate must be respected." Rouhani in turn asked Macron to take action against a Paris-based Iranian opposition group called the Mujahedeen-e- Khalq, who he accused of fomenting the recent protests.

"We criticise the fact that a terrorist group has a base in France and acts against the Iranian people... and we await action from the French government against this terrorist group," Rouhani told Macron, according to a report on Iranian state television.

Macron's office did not offer any comment on this matter but said the two leaders had evoked the 2015 nuclear accord, saying that the French president wanted its "strict application under international supervision" while Rouhani sought "the backing of the international community to defend this accord and respect the commitments undertaken." President Donald Trump has hinted of a possible US withdrawal from the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- that was a signature foreign policy achievement of the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama.

General Rassul Sanairad, a political deputy to the head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards, said yesterday the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq had been instructed by the Saudi rulers and some European states to "create insecurity" in Iran, Tasnim news agency reported.



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