Champagne on ice: Iran declines French state dinner invitation over alcohol

Islamic and French traditions clash in planning of Iranian state visit.

November 10, 2015 14:35
Rouhani Hollande

French President Francois Hollande (L) welcomes his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani for a meeting during the 70th UN General Assembly on September 27, 2015, in New York. (photo credit: ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)


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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is set to miss out on the Elysee's fine dining, after his delegation insisted that no wine be served at the state dinner proposed in his honor.

Rouhani will become the first Iranian President to visit Europe in a decade when he lands in Italy on Saturday, before continuing to France on November 16.

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As an alternative, the Elysee proposed for Rouhani to sit with French premier Hollande over breakfast, a meal not often accompanied by alcohol. However, the Iranians dismissed the idea as "too cheap," according to French outlet RTL.

With a Halal, alcohol-free dinner the only remaining option, the French, apparently unwilling to forgo their traditions, which are decidedly not in keeping with Halal or sobriety, cancelled the proposal.

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