Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is in Italy this week to meet with Pope Francis and other officials.
Before he stopped by Rome’s Capitoline Museum on Tuesday, staffers covered up the nude sculptures with panels to shield them from view.
Rouhani, a conservative Muslim, was meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the museum, and officials reportedly wanted to spare him any offence, according to The Guardian.
A spokesman for the city of Rome told the newspaper that any decision to cover up statues was made by the prime minister’s office. Italian news agency Ansa noted that covering up the statues was a sign of respect for Rouhani.
In another sign of respect, alcohol was not served at the dinner held in Rouhani’s honour, according to The Guardian.
Here are the photos of the statues:
The four-day visit to Italy and France is Rouhani’s first trip abroad since sanctions on Iran were partially lifted this month as part of an agreement between the country and Western powers to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Rouhani’s meeting with Pope Francis is the first between a pontiff and an Iranian leader since 1999, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Rouhani’s trip is meant to present Iran in a new light after the nuclear deal.
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