Italy covers up naked statues so as not to 'offend' Iranian president

A diplomatic compromise or a cave in to Islamic supremacy?

Italy is hosting a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this week and yesterday, his itinery included a visit to the magnificent Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museums). The museum features artwork from the ancient Romans through the renaissance and features some of the most beautiful sculpures in the world.

Except that some of the works of art show girl and boy bits prohibited by Islam. So the accommodating Italians placed panels in front of statues that revealed a little too much of the human body for the sensibilities of the Iranian president.


However, the Iranian leader could not admire some of the museum's masterpieces, as all marbles depicting naked scenes had been carefully hid behind large white panels.

The vast censorship effort was reportedly implemented as a show of respect to the reformist president, out of fears that the exposed private parts of ancient Roman gods could offend Iranian sensitivity. Wine was also banned from official receptions.

The move angered many Italians, who have accused authorities of betraying the country's cultural heritage in the name of political correctness and business interests. Hundreds of people voiced their displeasure online, with some posting photos of unclothed icons online under the hashtag 'statuenude' (naked statues) in protest.

The Capitoline Museums, located on the iconic Capitoline hill, are managed by the local council. However, a spokesperson said all aspects of Rouhani's visit were attended to by the government. IBTimes UK asked Renzi's office for comment but had received no reply at the time of publishing.

Rouhani's landing in Rome marked the first trip to Europe by an Iranian president in 16 years and comes after the lifting of economic sanctions against the Islamic republic following the nuclear deal.

What ends are achieved by the Italian government when they subsume their western heritage so that an 8th century prude like Rouhani won't be "offended" by the artful display of the human form? Why put the museum on the itinerary anyway if some of the tour would cause the old man to blush like a teenage girl?

Rouhani is in Italy to spend $18 billion - part of his European shopping spree resulting from the sudden gush of cash he's getting because of the lifting of sanctions. So I guess we see now the price Italy is willing to pay in order to get their hands on some of that sanctions money - prove to Rouhani that they can toss their heritage under the bus just like any other supplicant.

If the naked men and women in the sculptures would have offended Rouhani, he should never have agreed to go to the museum in the first place. Give him a tour of the Coliseum or the baths. That's more his speed anyway.