Bomb found on board Air France plane
Bomb found on board Air France planeThinkstock

Air France said on Monday it would allow female cabin crew and pilots to opt out of flying routes to Tehran, after some staff said they did not want to be forced to cover their hair when in Iran, Reuters reported. 

Earlier on Monday, Air France's female flight attendants declared they would not work on flights to Iran, in protest against instructions to cover their hair while in the Islamic Republic.

The airline suspended its Paris-Tehran route eight years ago as part of the international sanctions on Iran, but as Western nations warm to new relations with Tehran following last year's nuclear deal, the company is looking forward to restarting the flights later this month.

As part of the preparation, though, the crews were told that Iranian law requires women to have their hair covered while in public. Female flight attendants would thus have to wear headscarves from the point they step out of the plane.

After a meeting between Air France management and unions on Monday, the French carrier said it would offer female staff the choice of opting out of the flights.

Under Iranian law, women must cover their hair in public places. Unions had raised concerns over an Air France ruling obliging female crew to wear a headscarf upon leaving a plane. 

The debate on the wearing of headscarves and other religious symbols in public is particularly heated in France, which attaches importance to the separation of state and religious institutions. 

"This obligation does not apply during the flight and is respected by all international airlines serving the Republic of Iran," Air France said in a statement quoted by Reuters