France condemns reaction of Iranian police

France criticized Iranian authorities on Sunday for their "somewhat brutal reaction" to the street protests in Teheran over the country's presidential election, and the European Union expressed concern about how the ballot was conducted. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said his French government believes the situation in Iran "could leave lasting scars" on the nation. Protests flared amid allegations of voter fraud following the announcement Saturday that incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected to a second term. "We are very worried because there was a dialogue that was opening" within Iran, Kouchner told reporters following a meeting in Paris with the US Mideast envoy, George Mitchell. "France regrets that following (this) opening, there was a somewhat brutal reaction." In a statement late Saturday, the EU said it was "concerned about alleged irregularities" during Friday's vote and the post-election violence that erupted after the release of results, which are disputed by Ahmadinejad's reformist rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi.