Iran says avoid travelling to France

2nd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Iran urged its citizens on Tuesday to avoid travelling to France, saying the protests against the pension reforms there had triggered "serious unrest" in the country.

"We think the unrest in France has taken a more serious form and we advise our nationals to avoid non-essential travels to this country," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters at his weekly press conference.

"The unrest has reached a point where our citizens should be vigilant."

France has been gripped by nationwide protests in the past two months following President Nicolas Sarkozy's move to raise the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60.

French labour unions have vowed to continue protesting against the controversial pension reforms.

Mehmanparast said the travel warning had been posted on the websites of the foreign ministry and the Iranian embassy in Paris. But neither site was accessible on Tuesday.

France too has officially discouraged its citizens from visiting Iran since the unrest which erupted after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

Thousands of Iranians and several foreigners were arrested during the unrest in Iran, including French academic Clotilde Reiss, who spent nearly a year in prison for reportedly participating in an opposition demonstration.

The French foreign ministry in the last update on its website, posted in August, said the "situation is still tense" in Iran and recommended French nationals to "suspend non-essential travels to Iran... both business as well as tourist trips."

© 2010 AFP

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