Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi canceled an interview with CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour on Thursday after she refused to wear a headscarf in New York in the United States.
A Raisi aide approached Amanpour 40 minutes into the interview and asked her to wear a veil, “because these are the holy months of Muharram and Safar.”
The well-known British-Iranian journalist turned down the request.
“We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition about headscarves. I pointed out that no other Iranian president demanded this when I conducted interviews outside of Iran,” Amanpour said.
The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador said the assessor “made it clear that the interview would not take place if he did not wear a veil”.
“He said it was ‘a matter of respect’ and referred to the ‘situation in Iran,’ alluding to the protests in the country,” he said.
Amanpour and his team left, saying the reporter could not agree to “this unexpected and unprecedented condition.”
“The interview did not take place. As the protests continue in Iran and they are killing people, it would have been an important moment to talk to President Raisi,” said the journalist who has already shared an image of the scene created on Instagram: in front of him, an empty chair, where he should sit Raisi.
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A post shared by Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour)
According to Amanpour, it would be Raisi’s first interview in the United States, where he is visiting New York to participate in the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
“After weeks of planning and eight hours of setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras, we were ready. But no sign of President Raisi,” Amanpour added on Twitter.
The interview was to take place after the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was arrested last Tuesday by the so-called “morality police” in Tehran, where she was visiting, for allegedly wearing the veil incorrectly and transferred to a police station to attend “an hour of re-education”.
He died three days later in a hospital where he arrived in a coma after suffering a heart attack, which the authorities attributed to health problems, a version rejected by the family.
Since then, the protests have multiplied in at least 20 cities, with the death of at least 17 people, according to Iranian state television.