With France and Iran, it was a case of wine, dine… and dash.
French President Francois Hollande caused a stir in international diplomacy when he attempted but failed to hold a lunch meeting with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani — who has been on a tour of Europe this week — in a dispute over alcohol.
Apparently, the two global leaders were scheduled to meet at an upscale restaurant in Paris, but the French refused to back down on serving wine, even though drinking alcohol is against the Muslim faith. Iranians instead suggested serving a halal meal that would be in accordance with their religious guidelines but Hollande’s officials reportedly stated with vino vehemence, that complying with their demands would be against the ideals of the French Republic. According to The Daily Mail, The Elysee Palace suggested a breakfast with Rouhani instead, but the Iranians refused, seeing the olive branch as too “cheap” an alternative.
By contrast, the Italians fared better when they hosted President Hassan Rouhani, by not only keeping alcohol far off the menu, but even going so far as to cover up nude statues, whose naked marble visages who also be against the cultural ideals of the Iranian diplomats.