Italy provided the world with a chuckle this week after it emerged that ancient nude statues had been covered up ahead of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Rome. A video published on local news websites showed that naked statues had been censored with large plain white boards, presumably in order to respect Iran’s largely conservative values.
It is reported that Rouhani did not request the statues to be covered.
It was also decided that alcohol would not be served at official dinners with the Iranian president, however this is common practice during diplomatic visits from Islamic countries.
Some have spoken out against Italy’s decision to cover up the statues, with one Iranian women’s rights group calling on female Italian politicians to make their voices heard.
“So Italy! You respect Islamic values but the Islamic Republic of Iran does not respect our values [or] our freedom of choice,” they said in a statement.
“They force any non-Muslim women to cover ourselves in Iran. If you are just visiting Iran uncovered you will be deported from the airport or if you are an Iranian woman then you won't have any education.”
Others protested the censorship in the age-old fashion of drawing cartoons, arguing that "when in Rome," Rouhani ought to accept local customs or avert his own gaze.
See some below, via Twitter.
Die bessere Lösung #iran #irandeal #rouhani pic.twitter.com/BW4ZQb2FAX— Johannan Edelman (@schneckerl) January 27, 2016
"The statues of the Capitoline museums are covered so as not to offend the Iranian president Rouhani...Italian solution...The more logical solution"
Grande @JenusDiNazareth #Rouhani #Renzi pic.twitter.com/H1v28n9eXu— Luca Michetti (@IlMichetti) January 27, 2016
"The genitals on display offend the Iranian president...'I think this is their premier'...'Welcome to Italy!'"
#Rouhani visita il #Louvre (@LeoneCinzia) pic.twitter.com/erOGYY3bDY— roberto savastano (@robsavastano) January 27, 2016
"Rouhani visits the Louvre"
Will the French go this far for #Rouhani's visit? #Hijab @schneidercp @Behrouz_Bahmani @mdubowitz @idavar @EliLake pic.twitter.com/pmlLy1rRzv— Nik Kowsar (@nikahang) January 27, 2016
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