A lunch between the French and Iranian presidents in Paris has been scrapped after the hosts refused to take wine off the menu.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had been due to eat lunch with French President Francois Hollande in an upmarket restaurant as part of Mr Rohani’s tour of Europe – but negotiations broke down after the Iranians requested a halal, alcohol-free meal.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (3rd-L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd-L) attend a meeting with French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron (2nd-R), Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF) president Pierre Gattaz (3rd-R) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (4th-R) in Paris on 27 January 2016.
French officials insisted on serving traditional local food and wine and said making a meal “Iran friendly” went against their Republican values
The Elysee Palace suggested the heads of state share breakfast instead but this was rejected as “too cheap”.
Iranian officials did not request the statues be covered up but were said to appreciate the gesture.
But some Italians thought it was a sign of “cultural suicide”:
Meanwhile, French protesters have demanded Mr Hollande challenge Mr Rouhani over human rights abuses in Iran – where people are jailed, executed and flogged or speaking against the regime or being gay and women are treated as second class citizens.