Macron meets Iranian rights activists, praises women's revolution

© Masih Alinejad

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". Iranian security forces have killed at least 326 people in the crackdown, according to local rights groups.

Iran has for weeks been rocked by protests triggered by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, arrested for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's dress code.

The protest 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 Elysée.

"I want to emphasise our respect and our admiration in the context of the revolution they are leading," he added.

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.

France stands with Iranian protestors

Macron last month said France stands by the protesters in Iran and expressed his admiration for those demonstrating, 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".

Demonstrators 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.

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