CNN’s Kristian Amanpour says she pulled out of interview with Iran’s president because he demanded her wear a headscarf

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CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour said on Thursday she backed away from an interview with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi after one of her aides said it wouldn’t happen unless she wore a headscarf.

In a Twitter thread, Amanpour described how her scheduled interview with Raisi broke down on Wednesday night in New York, painting the aide’s request as an “unprecedented and unforeseen situation.”

CNN’s chief international anchor Amanpour said she planned to ask Raisi about it. Protests that have spread across Iran After Masha Amini, a 22-year-old woman accused of allegedly violating a strictly enforced dress code by the country’s ethics police, He died in custody last week.

Raisi was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

People protest the death of a woman detained by ethics police in the Iranian city of Tehran on September 21, 2022. (AP)

Iranian officials have said Amini died last Friday after falling ill and falling into a coma as she waited with other women caught by morality police. Authorities have admitted to making arrests in subsequent protests, but they denied misbehaving with Amini and said they were investigating her death.

Amini’s family has denied that she had health issues.

In recent days, Iranian security forces have clashed with anti-government protesters furious over the death of Amini, with some women burning their heads with scarves. morality police disobedience and the widespread atmosphere of social oppression of the country. The deadly unrest has been documented on social media.

Amanpour said she and her CNN team planned the interviews over the course of weeks and spent eight hours on Wednesday setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras.

,[W]E were ready,” she wrote in part. “But no sign of President Raisey.”

Forty minutes after the interview began, an aide of the Iranian president came and said that the president was “suggesting” that Amanpour wear a headscarf in recognition of the holy months of Muharram and Safar, she wrote. (Amanpour did not identify the aide.)

“I politely declined,” wrote Amanpour. “We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding scarves. I pointed out that no former Iranian president outside Iran needed this when I interviewed him.”

“The aide made it clear that the interview wouldn’t happen if I didn’t wear the headscarf,” she wrote. “He said it was an ‘honour,’ and mentioned the ‘situation of Iran’ – alluding to widespread protests in the country.

Amanpour wrote that she told the colleague that she could not agree to the interview for what she described as an “unprecedented and unforeseen situation”.

“And so we went. The interview didn’t happen,” wrote Amanpour in the closing post of the Twitter thread. “As protests continue and people are being killed in Iran, talking with President Raisi would have been an important moment.”

The thread had a picture of him in front of an empty chair along with Amanpour’s last tweet.

NBC News could not immediately reach Raisi for comment because the office of the president is closed until Saturday.

A CNN spokesperson said in a statement: “We fully support Christian and his team’s decision to politely decline an interview with President Raisey.”

In an address to world leaders at the United Nations on Wednesday, Raisi did not address the growing unrest in his country, instead using his time to attack the West and what he called “some governments with regard to human rights”. described as “double standards”.

This article is originally from . was published on

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