In apparent retaliation for Iranian media insults against Carla Bruni, the on/off wife of President Sarkozy of France, the main Gallic newspaper La Lune has branded Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a "little rent boy". The insult is aggravated by the fact that "rent" is considered un-Islamic, along with about 1,000 other everyday words.
The row between the Italian singer and the Iranians began when she criticised them for stoning to death people who have casual sex. She urged Iran to adopt the western system, whereby unmarried couples often get stoned before they have sex. The Iranian press wasn't amused and called Miss Bruni a prostitute, suggesting that she should be killed. In fact, by Iranian terms, that was practically a compliment. However, the French media, angered at the insult to the wife of their President, retaliated.
While La Lune has likened Ahmadinejad to a rent boy, L'Express went further, printing a family tree of the Ahmadinejad family, which begins with a hamster and a jackal. La Provence published a doctored photograph of the diminutive President bending down with his trousers round his ankles being approached by a long queu of bearded Ayatollahs.
The Iranian media was so shocked by the accusations that it has declared a one-week strike to give it time to think up some even nastier names to call President Sarkozy and his wife. One journalist said "I don't know what it will be but I can assure you that it will be the mother of all insults." Meanwhile, Iranian reporters in Paris have been buying extra pairs of shoes in case they should see President Sarkozy or Carla Bruni in the street.