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CNN’s Amanpour refuses Iran president’s headscarf demand

CNN’s veteran international affairs correspondent Christiane Amanpour said a scheduled television interview with Iran’s president was canceled this week after she rejected his demand to wear a head covering.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was one of hundreds of world leaders who flew to New York this week to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly.

Amanpour took to Twitter on Thursday and posted a photo of her sitting in front of an empty chair to be occupied by Raisi during their interview.

She said she wanted to ask the Iranian leader about protests that have erupted in his country after the death of a 22-year-old woman who was taken into police custody for refusing to wear a head covering.

“Protests rage across Iran and women burn their hijabs after Mahsa Amini’s death last week, following her arrest by ‘morality police,'” Amanpour tweeted Thursday.

“Human rights groups say at least 8 have been killed. Last night I planned to ask President Raisi about this and much more.”

CNN veteran Christiane Amanpour said her scheduled interview with the president of Iran was canceled this week after she rejected his request to wear a headscarf.
Getty Images

British-born Amanpour, whose father was Iranian, said the interview was scheduled weeks in advance. She tweeted that it took the CNN crew eight hours to set up the translation equipment, lights and cameras.

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“But no sign of President Raisi,” said Amanpour, 64, who lived in Tehran until she was 11.

The veteran journalist then said that “40 minutes after the interview should have started, an assistant arrived.”

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi flew to New York this week to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly.
Getty Images

“The president, he said, suggested that I wear a headscarf as it is the holy months of Muharram and Safar,” Amanpour tweeted.

“I politely declined,” Amanpour tweeted.

“We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves.”

She added: “I pointed out that no previous Iranian president has demanded this when I interviewed them outside of Iran.”

“The assistant made it clear that the interview would not take place if I did not wear a headscarf,” Amanpour tweeted.

Iran has been rocked by protests in recent days over the death of a 22-year-old woman who was arrested for not wearing a headscarf.
Iran has been rocked by protests in recent days over the death of a 22-year-old woman who was arrested for not wearing a headscarf.
via REUTERS

He said it was ‘a matter of respect’ and referred to ‘the situation in Iran’ – alluding to the protests sweeping the country,” the CNN veteran said.

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She then tweeted: “Again, I said I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected situation.”

Amanpour ended the tweet thread by writing, “And so we walked away.”

“The interview did not go through. As the protests in Iran continue and people are being killed, it would have been an important moment to speak with President Raisi.”

The Post has asked the Iranian government for comment.

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