Air France offers solution to Iran headscarves row

Female crew members opposed to the Iran's strict laws will not have to work on the Paris-Tehran service...

Following a meeting with unions on Monday, Air France has decided that working on its Paris-Tehran service will be on a voluntary basis for female staff.

Unions representing female flight attendants and pilots had expressed outrage that Air France was forcing staff to comply with strict Iranian laws on the wearing of headscarves.

The company has said it will now offer those who have a problem with the conditions the option not to fly to the Iranian capital and work on different flights, once they have informed the company of their refusal to wear the headscarf.

Air France noted in a new statement that the headscarf obligation does not apply during the flight, only public places on Iranian soil, and that all other international airlines serving the country already respect the law.

The airliner said:

"Tolerance and respect for the cultures and customs in the countries served by the airline are part of the fundamental values of Air France and its staff".

Female employees had been told to wear trousers onboard planes, and loose-fitting jackets and headscarves when exiting.

Unions also complained that they were asked not smoke in public on layovers, with the same not being requested of male employees.

In France, hijabs and full-body veils are officially banned.

The Paris-Tehran service is set to return on April 17th, having been in 2008 as part of international sanctions due to Iran's nuclear programme.