France announces plans to double visas for Iranian visitors
France plans to double the number of visas it issues to Iranians, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Monday in Tehran, at a time when US travel curbs have angered Iran.
"France wants to be able to allow a larger number of Iranians wishing to travel to France to ask for a visa in improved conditions," the French minister said at the start of a visit to the Islamic Republic.
"This project, which aims to double the number of visas currently issued for Iran, should take effect in the summer of 2017," he said at the French ambassador's residence in Tehran.
France has been issuing 41,000 visas a year to Iranian nationals.
Iran's foreign ministry said on Saturday it will ban Americans from entering the country in response to President Donald Trump's "insulting" order restricting arrivals from Iran and six other mostly Muslim countries.
The French foreign minister is in Tehran for a two-day visit.
He is expected to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as other Iranian officials.
Dozens of executives from French companies are accompanying Ayrault to sign business deals with Iranian clients.
This is the first visit by a foreign minister of a world power since the new US administration took office.
In 2015, Laurent Fabius - Ayrault's predecessor - visited Tehran following a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
The deal capped Iran's nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Many officials from European countries have visited Iran since the deal went into effect last year.
Agencies contributed to this report.