Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran, visited Italy for the start of his European tour. His purpose of visiting was to tie business relationship with European countries. Then, an issue was focused.
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He met Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at Capitoline Museum in Rome. But, there were several statues of naked women. Muslims do not admire such expressions. Respecting Rouhani’s religious concept, Italy decided to cover these statues with boards during the visit.
CNN: Iran's President visits Italy: Nude statues covered
This decision ignited the discontents of some Roman citizens. They seem to feel traditional Roman culture was compromised for the exchange of political interest.
In the reception dinner, no alcoholic drinks were offered for the same reason. As far as I know, it brought no criticism.
Respecting the preference of the guest is quite rational. In this case, the goal of the convention was to strengthen the mutual relationship between the two countries, not to make Iranians understand Western culture. Therefore, I think the decision of Italy is appropriate. If I were going to invite Obama for a business deal, I would never intend to bring him to Atomic bomb museum in Hiroshima.
However, I wonder why Italian government chose a Museum as the meeting place. For Italians, museums have some special meanings. It is understandable that concealing ancient arts from foreign visitors make Romans feel of disgrace.
On the other hand, it is interesting that issue of statues was seriously treated than alcohol. Roman wines are also honorable for Italian people. But, everyone knows that some people are vulnerable to alcohol. Rejecting alcohol is not an impolite act on some occasions. It is the reason the abstinent party was accepted.
Respecting culture of foreign countries is not easy for us. If Rouhani wants to understand Western culture deeply, he should watch Roman statues. But his goal is merely business interest. In such a case, conflicting factor should be minimized for each country.