Italy covers naked statues in ‘sign of respect’ for visiting Iran leader

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Italy on Jan. 25 covered nude statues in deference to the visiting leader of one of the world’s top state sponsors of terrorism.

plywood panels cover naked statues inside the Campidoglio, Capitol Hill, during a meeting between Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in Rome, Italy, January 25, 2016. (Giuseppe Lami/ANSA via AP
Plywood panels cover nude statues during a meeting in Rome between Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. /Giuseppe Lami/ANSA via AP

Nude statues at Rome’s Capitoline Museum were covered by large white panels in an effort to avoid any offense to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The decision to cover the artwork was made by the prime minister’s office “as a sign of respect for the Iranian president,” according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Meanwhile, Rouhani on Jan. 26 had a private meeting with Pope Francis where the two leaders held “cordial” talks, the Vatican said, adding that the two shared “common spiritual values.”

“I thank you very much for the visit. I have high hopes in peace,” the pope told Rouhani, according to the Catholic News Service. Rouhani responded by asking the pope to pray for him.

The Vatican has long maintained diplomatic relations with Teheran even as most of the western world ceased diplomatic relations. The last meeting between a pope and Iranian head of state took place in 1999.

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