Decision to cover nude statues in Italy ahead of Iranian visit slammed

Wooden panels were put up around the figurines

Italy, Rome, statues, nude, Matteo Renzi, Iran, Hassan Rouhani, Gianluca Peciola

A man runs past the statues of the Stadio dei Marmi (Marbles Stadium) near Rome's Olympic stadium in 2012 | Image: Gregorio Borgia / AP/Press Association Images

Italian politicians from across the spectrum have slammed a decision to shield Iran's president from nude statues in a museum.

Prior to a news conference at Rome's Capitoline Museums with prime minister Matteo Renzi, wooden panels were erected around the figurines so as not to offend the Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani.

Mr Renzi's office has declined to comment on the museum's allegation that the Italian PM's office wanted the statues lining Mr Rouhani's path to the conference covered up.

Politician Gianluca Peciola, from Italy's far-left SEL party, declared the decision to cover the statues "a shame and mortification for art and culture understood as universal concepts".

On the far-right, Brothers of Italy party leader Giorgia Meloni alleged the "level of cultural submission" by Renzi "has surpassed every limit of decency".

During talks this week in Rome, Mr Renzi and Mr Rouhani declared their commitment to strengthening cultural ties between the two countries.

Mr Rouhani's visit to Italy comes days after Iran reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers resulting in the lifting of economic sanctions against the country by the United Nations.