Iran offers university places to headscarfed French students

Iran has responded to restrictions in France, Germany and Turkey on the wearing of Muslim headscarves by offering university places here to women who want to wear the veil, state television reported Wednesday.

According to the report, Iran's top decision-making body on cultural and university affairs - the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council - said it would provide additional places to well-veiled females.

It made no mention of whether Iranian universities would also waive fees, but did say such students would be exempt from sitting entrance examinations.

The French embassy in Tehran has been the target of demonstrations over a ban on Muslim girls wearing the headscarf in French state schools.

Two German states have also voted through similar restrictions, while six other states have put forward draft laws banning headscarves or other religious symbols in public institutions.

Headscarves are also forbidden in universities and public offices in strictly secular Turkey.

Every post-pubescent female in Iran, regardless of her nationality or religion, is obliged to observe the Islamic dress code and cover her hair whenever outside the home.