Iranian women dissidents who met President Emmanuel Macron praised the talks on Saturday as a historic move from Paris, while urging France to lead concrete action against the Islamic republic.
Macron had on Friday held a previously unpublicised meeting with four prominent women campaigners as anti-regime protests sweep Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the morality police.
The four included US-based activist Masih Alinejad who for years has led a campaign encouraging Iranian women to remove their obligatory headscarves.
She held a one-on-one meeting with Macron at the Elysee Palace, before being joined by the three other campaigners, participants told AFP.
They were Shima Babaei, who has campaigned for justice for her father who has disappeared in Iran, Ladan Boroumand, the co-founder of Washington-based rights group Abdorrahman Boroumand Center and Roya Piraei whose mother Minoo Majidi was killed by security forces at the start of the protest crackdown.
"The meeting was very important. In 43 years (since the 1979 Islamic Revolution) not one Iranian dissident had a meeting with official status with a French president," Boroumand told AFP.
"It was groundbreaking," she added.
"What matters most in this historic meeting is the psychological impact of acknowledging the legitimacy of the ongoing struggle inside Iran. We need now to push the government to action."
"I'm sure it was not easy but he has clearly taken a brave and principled stance."
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