Iranian minister leaves dinner over red dress
Reuters – May 4, 2007
Iran's foreign Minister abruptly left a dinner where he was to sit opposite U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, complaining that a red dress worn by an entertainer was too revealing, a U.S. official said on Friday.
Expectations had been high that Rice might use a dinner held on the sidelines of an Iraq conference on Thursday to get to know Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, but instead the foreign minister left as guests were being seated.
U.S. officials said Mottaki complained to his Egyptian host the red dress worn by a Russian violinist, the entertainer for the evening, was offensive and he could not stay for the beachside dinner at the Sheraton hotel at the Red Sea resort.
"I am not sure which woman he was afraid of, the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack of the incident.
U.S. officials said they believed Mottaki had left because he did not want to sit opposite Rice and that the seating plan had caused some consternation among the Iranian delegation.
Egyptian and Iranian officials did not immediately respond to questions about the dinner or the reason for Mottaki's departure.
The chance of a meeting between Rice and Mottaki -- the first high-level talks between the two countries in three decades -- has held the media spotlight for days, but U.S. officials said nothing was planned.
At a lunch on Thursday, the two exchanged pleasantries but did not hold any substantive discussions.
Last updated 05/05/2007