Iranians scrap diplomatic lunch after the French REFUSE to take wine off the menu
IRAN’s teetotal president pulled out of a lunch with Francois Hollande after his hosts insisted on serving wine.
Source: The Express
By Kieran Corcoran
Jan 28, 2016
Hassan Rouhani was due to dine at the Elysée Palace with president Hollande during a trade mission to France, but ducked out.
The turnaround came when Iranian diplomats were told that wine was part of French culture and they would have to live with it.
Alcohol is banned in Iran, a religious state run under Islamic rules, with some exceptions for non-Muslims.
He is also said to have asked for Halal meat to be served – which was also rejected by the French hosts.
According to diplomatic sources, French officials tried to dodge the issue by suggesting the leaders meet for breakfast instead.
But Mr Rouhani’s camp saw that as a snub, according to French radio station RTL, and decided to skip the meal entirely.
Instead, the two men will dine separately and then meet.
Mr Hollande’s approach to culture clashes is in marked contrast to Italy, which played host to the Iranian delegation as well.
There many criticised the hosts for covering up nude statues and paintings to avoid offending their guests.
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi did dine with Mr Rouhani, without wine.
The Iranian president is the highest elected official in Iran, but is still answerable to Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the country’s top cleric.
He is currently on a victory lap of Europe after bruising sanctions on his country were lifted.
Iran is now free to make business deals with the West after agreeing to controls on its nuclear programme.
So far Iran has announced a purchase of more than 100 planes from Airbus, and a major car deal with Peugeot.
Mr Rouhani said the two nations should: “Forget past differences and start anew”