Macron meets Iran women activists, hails ‘revolution’

The delegation included activists Masih Alinejad, Shima Babaei and Ladan Boroumand, co-founder of a Washington-based rights group


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France's President Emmanuel Macron. — Reuters
France's President Emmanuel Macron. — Reuters

Published: Fri 11 Nov 2022, 11:53 PM

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday met a delegation of prominent exiled Iranian rights activists, later hailing the women-led protest movement in the country as a “revolution”.

Iran has for the last weeks been rocked by protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the morality police.

The movement has turned into the biggest challenge for the clerical regime since the revolution.

“We welcomed with great honour and pleasure a delegation of Iranian women,” Macron told a session at the Paris Peace Forum, an annual conference held in the French capital, after meeting the activists at the Elysee.

“I want here to really emphasise to them again our respect and our admiration in the context of the revolution they are leading,” he added.

According to the Elysee, the delegation included US-based activist Masih Alinejad, Shima Babaei, who has campaigned for justice for her father who has disappeared in Iran, and Ladan Boroumand, the co-founder of a Washington-based rights group.

Macron last month said France “stands by” the protesters in Iran and expressed his “admiration” for women and youths demonstrating in the country, while condemning what he called “repression” by the authorities.

The Iranian foreign ministry retorted that his comments were “meddlesome” and served to encourage “violent people and law breakers”.

But protesters who have taken to the streets in Paris in support of the protests in Iran have also sometimes voiced criticism of the French government and urged Paris to cut diplomatic relations with Tehran.

Some were bitterly critical of Macron’s decision to meet Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September as he sought to revive the 2015 deal on the Iranian nuclear programme.

Macron “shook hands with the murderous president of Iran,” the influential Alinejad tweeted at the time, also denouncing how police in Paris had used tear has on protesters in Paris seeking to march in the Iranian embassy.

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