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TEHRAN: Iran on Sunday criticised a recent meeting between the French president and opponents of the Islamic republic, calling Emmanuel Macron’s comments after the encounter “regrettable and shameful”.

Macron on Friday met with four prominent Iranian dissidents, all of them women, as protests that have rocked Iran for weeks after the death of Mahsa Amini show no signs of abating.

The 22-year-old had been arrested by the morality police for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress rules for women.

The meeting was “a flagrant violation of France’s international responsibilities in the fight against terrorism and violence”, foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said.

“We consider that France favours these sinister phenomena,” he added.

US-based activist Masih Alinejad, who for years has led a campaign encouraging Iranian women to remove their obligatory headscarves, and Ladan Boroumand, co-founder of Washington-based rights group Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, were among those at the meeting.

Alluding to Alinejad, Kanani said it was “surprising that the president of a country that stands for freedom would degrade himself by meeting” her, charging that she had “tried to spread hate and carry out violent and terrorist acts in Iran and against Iran’s foreign diplomatic missions”.

After his meeting with the women, Macron spoke of his “respect and admiration in the context of the revolution they are leading”.

“Macron’s declarations of support for this so-called revolution led by these people” were “regrettable and shameful”, Kanani said.

Iran also lashed out at Germany for “interventionist, provocative” remarks by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“What kind of government are you that shoots at its own citizens? Anyone who acts in this way must expect our opposition,” Scholz had said Saturday in a weekly video podcast, adding that his country had committed to upholding and protecting human rights.

Some “have made human rights the basis of political games”, Kanani said.

He accused Germany of failing to “respect other countries’ sovereignty while harbouring terrorist and separatist groups hostile to the Islamic republic”, a statement said.

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