• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
France - Iran
Hollande to welcome Iran's Rouhani but not for lunch
Hollande won't be dining with Rouhani during his historic visit. Photo: Charles Platiau/AFP

Hollande to welcome Iran's Rouhani but not for lunch

The Local · 27 Jan 2016, 08:59

Published: 27 Jan 2016 08:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Jan 2016 08:59 GMT+01:00

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani will begin his historic visit to France on Wednesday after being invited by François Hollande last year.

However the pair won't be dining together as originally planned.

Iran's Rouhani has reportedly had to turn down a dinner invitation with French president François Hollande at the Elysée for religious reasons.

It appears the Iranian presidency's request for halal meat to be served and for the wine to be left off the table, which is a common request by Iran, was rejected by officials at the Elysée.

“A meal had been planned but fell through,” a source involved in French–Iranian affairs told the RTL site, adding that the leaders were missing out on "a great opportunity".

The pair will now hold their meeting once the two parties have dined separately.

Rouhani, whose country has strict laws governing the consumption of alcohol, had requested a meal with a halal, alcohol-free menu. But this proved unacceptable for the Elysée, who politely declined citing France's “republican traditions” surrounding Elysée dinners.

The Elysée have not confirmed or commented on the reports.


(Hollande meets Rouhani at the United Nations last year. Photo: AFP)

In an attempt to reach a compromise, the Elysée suggested a breakfast meeting instead, but this was reportedly rejected by the Iranians as being “too cheap”.

Rouhani's visit comes after his trip to Italy, where not only was wine off the menu, but nude statues at a museum in Rome had to be covered up so as to spare the head of state's blushes.

The wine row recalls a 2009 incident, when the Iraqi prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki, declined a dinner invitation with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy because he did not want alcohol at the table. 

The visit of Rouhani was announced in Tehran by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius last July, two weeks after the nuclear deal was struck between the Islamic republic and world powers. 

Acknowledging much had to be done to improve the relationship between Tehran and Paris however, Fabius said both nations stood to benefit from recent diplomacy.

Story continues below…

"We are two great, independent countries, two great civilizations. It is true that in recent years, for reasons that everyone knows, the ties have cooled but now thanks the nuclear deal, things will be able to change," he said.

The trip will be Rouhani's first to France as president, and he is set to meet with representatives of French business including Orange, Total, EADs and Accor, as well as Minister for Economics Emmanuel Macron.

At the time of writing, neither the Elysée nor the Iranian Embassy in Paris had responded to The Local's requests for comment.

 

 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Aussie TV show accused of staging French burkini row
Photo: Channel 7 screengrab

Was an Australian TV report about France's burkini ban a set up to portray the French as "anti-Muslim"?

Five ways Paris is better than it was 15 years ago
All photos: AFP

Here's how one man says Paris has changed for the better over his last 15 years in the city.

Man in 60s wounds two in France supermarket shooting
Photo: AFP

A police SWAT team has surrounded gunman's apartment.

Paris makes 'history' by banning cars on river bank

The French capital is going green with a vengeance.

France's hospital doctors stage strike to highlight crisis
Photo: AFP

Unions have called for a "massive" walk-out among hospital doctors.

France's last 'real Camembert' cheese fights for survival
All photos: Charly Triballeau/AFP

It's a cheese maker's take on David and Goliath.

PSG's Serge Aurier sentenced to jail for attack on policeman
Photo: AFP

PSG player had attacked a police officer outside a night club on the Champs Elysées.

Paris city chiefs ready to let nudists hang out in park
Photo: AFP

A nudist park in Paris? "We're going to do it," says City Hall.

Hollande calls on UK to help solve Calais migrant crisis
Photo: AFP

The French president knows that immigration is a key issue of the presidential election battle.

Air France plane dumps fuel 'over Fontainebleau forest'
Photo: AFP

The mayor of the famous town near Paris is furious.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
2,732
jobs available