Rouhani says Iran didn't request statue cover-up

AP , Wednesday 27 Jan 2016

Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves to journalists on the occasion of his visit at Rome's Colosseum, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016 (AP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran didn't make any specific requests for Rome museum officials to cover up naked statues but says he nevertheless appreciated the welcome he received.

Rouhani laughed Wednesday when asked at the end of a three-day visit to Italy about the statue cover-up, which made headlines in Italy and around the world. Some Italian politicians decried the "cultural submission" implied in Italy's gesture.

Rouhani said Iran made no specific request for the cover-up, saying there were "no contacts about this" from the Iranian side.

But he added: "I know that Italians are a very hospitable people, a people who try to do the most to put their guests at ease and I thank you for this."

Ahead of a joint news conference Monday with Premier Matteo Renzi, wooden panels were erected around some Roman-era statues in Rome's Capitoline Museums.

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