Rome Covers Up Nude Statues in Museum for Iran President

PHOTO:Wooden panels are seen covering statues inside the Romes Capitoline Museums, Jan. 25, 2016. PlayGiuseppe Lami/AP Photo
WATCH Rome Covers Up Nude Statues in Museum for Iran President

Nude statues in Rome's Capitoline Museums were covered up during a recent visit by the president of Iran, and the move is drawing criticism in Italy, according to Italian media reports.

White wooden panels were placed around the statues Monday, when Iranian president Hassan Rouhani publicly met with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

The cover-up was undertaken as a show of respect for Iranian culture, ANSA reported, adding that alcohol -- which is considered forbidden by some Islamic followers -- also was not served during the meet-up between the Iran's and Italy's leaders.

Politicians and users on social media ridiculed the move to cover-up the naked statues, including Italian parliament member Luca Squeri, who told ANSA, "Respect for other cultures cannot and must not equal the negation of ours."

"This is not respect," Squeri added. "It is the cancellation of differences or, worse still, submission."

The Capitoline Museums' office said cover-up was ordered by the prime minister Renzi's office, which declined to provide additional comment, The Associated Press reported.

Renzi's press office and the Capitoline Museums' office did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment.