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Citing Wine, Rouhani Snubs French Presidential Dinner

Citing Wine, Rouhani Snubs French Presidential Dinner

PARIS — Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has refused a dinner invitation at the French presidential palace with his counterpart François Hollande, because wine was on the menu, French broadcaster RTL reports.

A formal dinner was planned at the Elysée to mark the end of Rouhani's November 16-17 visit to Paris, as part of the first trip to Europe by an Iranian president in 10 years.

In accordance with Islamic dietary laws, Iranian officials request halal menus and bottles of alcohol be removed during official visits abroad. But the no-wine clause was too hard to swallow for French officials who refused to remove the bottles from the menu, insisting that wine is an important part of France's traditions, reports RTL.

Officials at the Elysée, the French presidential palace, tried to right the gastronomic faux-pas by organizing a booze-free breakfast between the two presidents — an offer that the Iranian delegation reportedly rejected as "too cheap."

Rouhani and Hollande are still set to meet to discuss Syria, the fight against terrorism and the Iranian nuclear deal. Could the gastronomic protocol standoff be resolved around a glass of non-alcoholic German-made halal sparkling wine? Not likely.

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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