France is off the hook over vexing Islam-compliant lunch
An official luncheon due to be hosted on Tuesday by French President François Hollande for Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani became mired in controversy when Tehran reportedly insisted that only halal meat and no wine be served.
According to this report, Tehran made the faux pas (in the French view) of insisting that President Hollande’s chefs follow Muslim dietary rules and serve only halal meat and no alcohol at the event.
There must be no champagne or wine at the planned lunch, even for the non-Muslim hosts, the Iranians told French diplomats organising the luncheon.
The French offered a face-saving breakfast instead, but their Iranian counterparts dismissed this as “too cheap”, according to RTL radio, which broke the story. When no compromise was found, the French simply called off the proposed lunch at the President’s Élysée Palace.
France’s rising far-right National Front, which looks set to score some important victories in regional elections next month, would have branded any concession by Hollande as another sign of the “Islamisation” they say the country is having to endure.
The row looked as if it might cast a shadow over Rouhani’s first first official visit to Paris, part of a tour to mark Iran’s return to the international community after it agreed with world powers in July to curb its nuclear programme.
But, following Friday’s horrific Muslim terror attacks in Paris, Rouhani, according to this report, has decided to stay at home “to fight terrorism”.
Announcing the change in travel plans, Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said:
It is better now to focus on fighting terrorism and President Rouhani’s trip to Europe will happen in near future.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn