May 29, 2023

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Iran urges France to avoid violence against peaceful protesters

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has urged the French government to observe human rights and avoid violence against citizens who are peacefully protesting proposed pension reforms.

“We call on the French government to respect human rights and avoid resorting to force against the people of its own country who are pursuing their demands peacefully,” Amir Abdollahian tweeted in French on Friday.

More than a million people took to the streets across France on Thursday to voice their protests at pension reforms.

In a series of posts published on his Twitter account on Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani also asked French officials to respond to the demands of protesters who have marched across the country against Macron’s pension reform, rather than to stoke unrest in other countries.

“The government of France must talk to its people and listen to their voices. You cannot use such violence” while preaching other countries how to deal with riots, Kanaani tweeted.

Kanaani was openly referring to the Paris position toward the 2022 autumn riots in Iran in which French officials fanned the flames of unrest in Iran. The French president personally met with notorious figures who have been pushing for regime change in Iran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also rebuked the silence of female foreign ministers in Canada, Europe, and Australia toward the violence against French women while they held forums and issued statements in support of the Iranian women in the autumn protests.

“French protesters are also waiting to see the collective response of European, Australian and Canadian female ministers in support of the protesting French women,” Kanaani told them sarcastically.

In another tweet, the spokesman said, “We do not support destruction or rioting, but we maintain that instead of creating chaos in other countries, listen to the voice of your people and avoid violence against them.”

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron rejected calls to stop pushing through his deeply unpopular pension plan. He insisted that the new law would come into force later this year.

Police fired tear gas at crowds in northwestern Lorient, while video from Rennes shows authorities using water cannons to disperse protesters, CNN reported.

At least 80 people were arrested and 123 police officers injured in France on Thursday during the nationwide protests, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

Thursday was the ninth day of strikes in the country and the first of coordinated action since Macron’s government pushed a bill to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 through parliament without a vote last week.

The French government’s plan to raise the retirement age for most workers by two years is opposed by huge numbers of people.

Despite protests, Macron’s government has not backed down. It rammed the legislation through the French National Assembly on March 20 using a constitutional clause that allows the government to bypass a vote.

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