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.