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Iran slams Macron’s ‘meddlesome’ remarks, double standards

People gather during a TotalEnergies and Esso ExxonMobil workers’ protest outside TotalEnergies refinery in La Mede, France October 11, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani has strongly slammed the “meddlesome” remarks of French President Emmanuel Macron in supporting violent riots in Iran while also reminding Paris of its double standards on human rights.

Macron had on Wednesday condemned Iran’s dealing with the recent riots across the country, which erupted after the controversial death of a young Iranian woman, saying, “We stand alongside these women. It’s a sovereign people fighting for their freedom.”

Condemning the “meddlesome” remarks of the French president, Kan’ani said such remarks are politically-motivated accusations and “encourage” those who are engaging in violent riots and breaking the law.

“The right to peaceful protest has been recognized in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic,” the spokesman said.

“It is odd that the president of France and some of its officials have condemned the [Iranian] security forces’ dealing with violent rioters during recent developments and called on the Iranian government to refrain from violence and observe the rights of the rioters but at the same time, in response to worker strikes in the oil and gas and refinery sector, French authorities, including a government spokesperson, threaten workers that they will end the strikes by use of force.”

“This is a blatant hypocrisy and once again proves that human rights is nothing but a tool in the hands of many governments in the West that claim [to be advocating human rights] to achieve their political aims and interfere in the affairs of other states,” Kan’ani added.

The leading French trade union, General Confederation of Labour (CGT), which represents labor forces at TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil’s Esso France, was quoted as saying on Monday that the strikes at the companies’ oil refineries and storage sites will continue.

French officials warned on Tuesday that they would be forced to intervene if the country’s energy sector workers did not immediately end their strike. Having previously threatened to use emergency powers to order essential workers back to the job on pain of fines or jail time, the government announced Wednesday it was putting them into action.

The industrial action to demand pay hikes has paralyzed six out of the seven fuel refineries in France, leading to shortages of petrol and diesel aggravated by panic-buying from drivers.

Workers at a fuel depot at a refinery in northwest France, owned by US giant Esso-ExxonMobil, will be the first to be targeted, an energy ministry official told AFP.

The strikes have added pressure on French President Emmanuel Macron whose government is already facing discontent among the public over inflation and higher cost of living.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Paris on Sunday to protest soaring inflation and high cost of living, demanding that France pull out completely from membership in the US-led NATO military alliance.

The strike over pay, now in its third week, has led to the closure of an estimated 30 percent of service stations nationwide.

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