U.N. Officials Mask Carving of Naked Man Before Iran Nuclear Talks

Modest attire is customary in the Islamic Republic of Iran

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Harold Cunningham / Getty Images

Geneva's Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland is the European Headquarters of the United Nations, with its oldest sections built between 1929 and 1938, was originally known as the League of Nations.

A wall relief bearing a sculpture of a naked man at the entrance of the United Nations Council Chamber at its Geneva headquarters has been concealed just a day before nuclear talks with Iran.

Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneve first reported the decision was made out of respect for Iranian diplomats, who will arrive Tuesday for the scheduled talks. The Islamic Republic’s strict customs prohibit men from revealing their arms and legs in public while women must wear loose clothing and cover their hair.

U.N. officials declined to comment and deferred to Swiss officials, who told the AFP the move was an effort to “provide a neutral backdrop” at the entrance of the hall.

The relief, based on Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam,” was donated by the organization’s precursor, the League of Nations, in 1938.