Macron 'worried' about Iran, asks Rohani for 'restraint'


Paris — French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday expressed his concern over unrest in Iran during a telephone conversation with counterpart Hassan Rohani 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 Tehran this week to a later date, the Elysee said.

The two leaders' conversation came after nearly a week of protests in Iran marked by deadly violence and hundreds of arrests.

Macron's office said the French leader underscored that "fundamental rights including freedom of expression and freedom to demonstrate must be respected".

In a statement sent to AFP in Paris by Afchine Alavi, of the National Council of the Iranian Resistance, People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) said "to date, there are dozens of defenceless protesters killed by Revolutionary Guards and thousands more arrested."

Tehran's remarks reflect the "panic of the mullahs' regime in the face of the extent of the uprising against the religious dictatorship and the growing popularity of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) and the Iranian Resistance," the statement said.

According to official figures, 21 people have died since the start of the protests on December 28 in the northeast city of Mashhad.

It said the two leaders had evoked the 2015 nuclear accord, with the French president wanting its "strict application under international supervision", while Rohani 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. — AFP