The historical visit of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to France will be without an official state dinner, which is normally an important part of every meeting between statesmen. The reason: both parties couldn’t agree on the question if alcohol should be served or not. Rouhani demanded a meal without booze, in the tradition of his Islamic religion. But for the French president Francois Hollande a meal without wine was completely unacceptable.
Now you might think: meal or no meal, who cares? But it’s actually a pretty big thing. Ever since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 Iran holds a difficult relationship with Western countries. It has been over a decade since an Iranian president last visited Europe. With all the conflicts in the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear program on the agenda, the whole world is watching this historical meeting in France. It’s even said that this meeting could shape global politics.
All the more impressive that Francois Hollande didn’t let anyone pressure him on having a meal without booze. In the good French tradition wine must be served for those who desire it. As far as we know no European delegation ever demanded alcohol or pork meat on the menu in the Middle East either. Neither did anybody try to force any liquor down the throats of Iranian teetotalers. Good job on taking a stand, mister Hollande!
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