Iranian President Bails on Interview With CNN’s Christiane Amanpour After She Refuses to Wear Headscarf


CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour revealed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi canceled an interview when she refused his demand she wear a headscarf.

Amanpour joined New Day on Thursday to talk about the riots raging across Iran after Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody last week. Amini was arrested by Tehran’s morality police on charges of violating Iranian law requiring women to wear headscarves. While officials say she died as a result of a heart attack, the government’s claim has been met with broad public skepticism, and mass protests have broken out against Iran’s authoritarianism and oppression of women.

Amanpour was slated to have an interview with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi while he was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. While explaining all the preparations that went into the interview, Amanpour said that after 40 minutes of waiting for Raisi to show up, one of his aides asked her to put on a headscarf for the Islamic holy months of Muharram and Safar.

“Here in New York, or anywhere else outside of Iran, I have never been asked by any Iranian president [to wear a headscarf],” Amanpour said. “I have interviewed every single one of them since 1995, either inside or outside Iran, never been asked to wear a headscarf.”

Amanpour said she “politely declined” the request, adding that it became an ultimatum when Raisi’s aide told her the interview wouldn’t happen without the headscarf.

The president bailed from the interview, which Amanpour connected to the anti-hijab protests in Iran.

I could just guess on how do I read it, I think that he did not want to be seen with a female without a headscarf in this moment. Either because he calls it a religious month, or because, people would say how come he’s sitting down with a foreign journalist who is not wearing a headscarf, yet inside Iran, they’re cracking down on young women who are not wearing their headscarves.

Amanpour’s would-be interview with Raisi came after he had a tense conversation with Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutes. Stahl wore a headscarf as she pressed Raisi on Iran’s numerous transgressions on the world stage, and his team interfered with the interview’s filming.

Watch above via CNN.

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