Interview with Iran prez cancelled for refusing to wear headscarf: CNN’s Christiane Amanpour

Veteran CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour on Thursday alleged that a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in New York, was cancelled after she refused to wear a headscarf to the interview.

Subhan Bakery - Instagram Commercial

This comes at a time when protests are spreading in Iran against the obligatory hijab in public places, following the death of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after suffering a heart attack, while she was detained by morality police for “not wearing the hijab properly”.

The British-Iranian journalist in a series of tweets said that she was scheduled for an interview with Raisi on Wednesday evening, in New York, where the Iranian president was to participate in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

MS Education Academy

“After weeks of planning and eight hours of preparing translation equipment, lights and cameras, we are ready. But there is no sign of President Raisi,” she tweeted.

However, more than 40 minutes after the interview, not Raisi, but one of his assistants, suggested that Amanpour wear the hijab during the interview, “out of respect for the months of Muharram and Safar”.

“I politely declined,” Amanpour wrote.

“We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding the veil. I indicated that no previous Iranian president asked for it when I interviewed them outside Iran,” she added.

In the aftermath, aides to the Iranian president made it clear to Amanpour that the interview would only take place if she agreed to the condition, considering it a matter of respect, especially in light of the situation in Iran, in reference to the current protests.

“Once again, I said I could not agree to this unprecedented and unexpected situation,” she continued.

Amanpour concluded by saying, “The interview did not take place, in parallel with the continuing protests in Iran and the killing of people… It would have been an important moment to talk with President Raisi.”

Protests in Iran over Mahsa Amini’s death

The number of people killed in the protests that rocked Iran after Mahsa Amini’s death has risen to 31, AFP reported on Thursday, September 22.

22-year-old Mahsa Amini who came to Tehran with her family from Saqqaz, was arrested on Tuesday, September 13, near the Martyr Haqqani metro station, by the morality police patrol who took her away for a guidance lesson over her improper hijab.

As per media reports, she was allegedly beaten inside the morality police’s van while being taken to a detention centre.

Amini fell into a coma shortly after collapsing at the detention center before she was pronounced dead on Friday, September 16.

Amini’s death sparked nationwide condemnation, and the hashtag “#Mahsa_Amini” became one of the most frequently used on Twitter in the Persian language, as it was used nearly two million times.

Women have been at the forefront of the protests that have spread across Iran since Saturday, September 17, after the death of Mahsa Amini.

Women have been playing a prominent role in the protests, as they wave or burn their headscarves, while others cut their hair in public.

Since Wednesday evening, the Iranian authorities have blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp.

On Thursday afternoon, the United States of America imposed several sanctions on Iran due to the killing of Mahsa Amini, which included 6 members of the Iranian morality police.

Meanwhile, Iranian news sites reported that the Ministry of Intelligence warned on Thursday that participating in the protests over the death of a woman in police custody is illegal and demonstrators would face prosecution.

Subscribe us on The Siasat Daily - Google News

Sakina Fatima

Sakina Fatima, a digital journalist with, has a master's degree in business administration and is a graduate in mass communication and journalism. Sakina covers topics from the Middle East, with a leaning towards human interest issues.
Back to top button