The BBC reports:
Italian hospitality for the visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stretched to covering up nude statues.
Mr Rouhani and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi spoke at Rome’s Capitoline Museum after Italian firms signed business deals with Iran.
But several nudes there were hidden to avoid offending the Iranian president.
Italy also chose not to serve wine at official meals, a gesture France, where Mr Rouhani travels next, has refused to copy.
It’s appalling that Italy should choose to go to such lengths to placate the President of a country which punitively enforces its own dress (and other religious) codes. Western leaders and dignitaries choose (or are obliged) to conform to such codes when they travel abroad – but this is an accommodation too far. Some in Iran think the same:
A statement issued by Iranian women’s rights campaign group My Stealthy Freedom called for female Italian politicians to speak out.
“So Italy! You respect Islamic values but the Islamic Republic of Iran does not respect our values [or] our freedom of choice,” the statement said.
“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.”
Although nudes are too much for Iran’s leaders they have no qualms about promoting racism and Holocaust denial.
On December 17, Iran’s IRNA news agency announced a contest for satirical cartoons relating to the Holocaust, to take place in June in Mashhad as part of the Teheran International Cartoon Biennial that has been held for the past 11 years.
The winner of the contest will get a prize of $50,000, and organizers told the agency that the contest was not a display meant to deny the Holocaust or support it, but to enable questions to be asked about it.