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First Air France flight in 8 years lands in Iran

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Air france planes at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport in October 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The first Air France flight between Paris and Iran for eight years landed in Tehran on Sunday, bearing a government minister and a business delegation. The route was suspended since 2008 because of international sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme. Flights resumed after the sanctions were lifted in January.


World powers reached a deal to cap Iranian nuclear activities earlier this year after months of negotiations.

French Transport Minister Alain Vidalies was on board. He said the link between the two capitals was crucial for entering partnerships.

Air France CEO Frederic Gagey was optimistic the line would prove profitable.

"It's a tourist destination that I believe is going to become very popular, very attractive," he said.

Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, Iran's deputy transport minister, welcomed the resumption of the flight.

"The current situation has fortunately given the opportunity to both countries to restore their relations to their normal former state. It interestingly seems that the Islamic republic's aviation sector has been dominated by France and French industries," he said.

French President François Hollande received Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Paris in January and the two countries signed some 20 deals during the visit, including one for Iran Air to buy 118 aircraft from Airbus.

Canbin crews' headscarf row

However, the resumption of flights caused controversies over female cabin crew's attire in flight. According to an internal memo earlier, they were required to wear trousers and loose-fitting jackets and cover their hair with a scarf when they leave the aircraft.

The company announced on Monday that female staff could opt out of the route and a special unit for the Tehran route is planned.

Air France will fly to Iran three times a week.

German carrier Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Italy's Alitalia, already connect Europe to Tehran.

British Airways is planning to resume its service to the Iranian capital in July.