- The Washington Times
Thursday, January 28, 2016

A second meal between the French and Iranian presidents in Paris has been canceled after France refused to remove wine from the menu. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been traveling through Europe this week, making his way from Italy to France to sign billions of dollars worth of business deals after economic sanctions against his country were lifted under a nuclear deal. 

He was scheduled to dine with French President Francois Hollande at a restaurant in Paris on Thursday, but the meal was canceled because of a disagreement over which beverages would be served, the Daily Mail reported

The French insisted on serving local food and wine, but the Iranians demanded a halal meal to meet Muslim customs. Islamic law forbids the consumption of alcohol. 

Mr. Hollande’s office countered that preparing the meal to be “Iran friendly” went against France’s republican values, the Daily Mail reported. 

A breakfast was suggested instead, but Mr. Rouhani reportedly snubbed the meal for being “too cheap.”

This is not the first time a meal between the two presidents has been canceled because of a wine dispute. A formal dinner between the two leaders was canceled in November after France refused Iran’s request for an alcohol-free meal. 

Mr. Rouhani this week also visited Rome, where officials were much more accommodating to Iranian customs by removing alcohol from the menu for state dinners and covering up nude statues. 

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