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Red wine has caused a meeting between the leaders of France and Iran to be cancelled

The French government said that accepting the Iranian demands would have gone against “republican traditions”.

Image: AP Photo/Bob Edme

A MEETING BETWEEN the presidents of France and Iran has been cancelled after a disagreement over food and wine.

It is being reported that this came about after a request by the Iranian delegation for halal meat to be served and for wine to be removed from the table at a meeting of the two countries’ heads of state next week.

This request was declined by the Elysée Palace – leading Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to pull out of the dinner engagement.

Rouhani was invited to visit France earlier this year by French president Francois Hollande, an invitation that was seen as potentially laying the path for closer business ties between the two countries.

Dinner’s off 

In withdrawing from the meal the Iranian delegation cited religious reasons.

French news site Metro News has reported that the French government refused to acquiesce to the Iranian demands as they would be contrary to France’s “republican traditions”.

United Nations Iran Hasan Rouhani and Francois Hollande meeting at the UN in 2013 Source: AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

As a compromise, the Elysee offered a breakfast for president Rohani, something that it is reported was rejected as “too cheap”.

Speaking to website RTL, a source involved in relations between the two countries said that “a great opportunity” had been missed.

Closer business ties 

In September a business delegation and French government representatives flew to Iran ahead of the expected lifting of sanctions that had been imposed against the Middle Eastern nation amid concerns over its alleged nuclear arms development.

This is a move that has faced opposition from the United States and Israel, and could see action taken as early as next spring.

The opening up of relations with the country follows on from a nuclear deal reached between world powers and Iran back in July.

Read: Irish World War II veteran awarded France’s highest military honour

Also: At least seventeen people have died as the south of France reels from devastating storms

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