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Macron asks Rouhani to show restraint, minister's visit postponed

FILE PHOTO - French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech after he signed three legal texts concerning 2018 State Finances, 2018 French Health Care Financing, and a legal text ending the research and exploitation of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon and framing several dispositions in term of energy and environment at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 30, 2017. REUTERS/Etienne Laurent/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Iranian counterpart in a phone call on Tuesday to show restraint in dealing with protests, Macron’s office said in a statement.

The statement said Macron had expressed his concern to President Hassan Rouhani over the number of casualties in the six-day-old protests, and told him that freedom of speech and protest must be respected.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s planned trip to Tehran later this week was also postponed to a future date, the French presidency said.

Iranian media said Rouhani had asked France to act against Mujahideen exiles working against the Iranian establishment from Paris.

Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Geert De Clercq and Kevin Liffey