January 30, 2017 / 6:51 PM / 3 years ago

Amid Trump immigration row, France doubles visas for Iranians in 2017

TEHRAN (Reuters) - France said on Monday it would double the visas available for Iranians in 2017, partly in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban order against nationals from Iran and six other countries that is intended to secure U.S. borders.

Speaking to the French expatriate community in Iran’s capital, Tehran, Foreign Minister Jean-marc Ayrault said discrimination was not the answer to terrorism.

“The welcoming of refugees is a duty and question of solidarity,” Ayrault said. “Terrorism doesn’t have a nationality and discrimination is not a response.”

The measure also comes as France seeks to deepen bilateral ties with Iran after the lifting of Iranian sanctions in 2015.

France issued about 40,000 visas to Iranians in 2016, a French diplomatic source said, adding that the visas would cover tourism, students and work.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Richard Lough

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