CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said Thursday Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi declined to show up at a preplanned interview with her in New York after she refused to wear a headscarf upon Raisi’s request.
In a series of tweets, Amanpour said, “This was going to be President Raisi’s first ever interview on US soil, during his visit to New York for the United Nations 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.”
She added that 40 minutes after the interview was due to start, one of Raisi’s aides came over and asked her to wear a headscarf, “because it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar,” to which she declined, pointing out that “no previous Iranian president has required this when I have interviewed them outside Iran.”
“The aide made it clear that the interview would not happen if I did not wear a headscarf. He said it was “a matter of respect,” and referred to “the situation in Iran” -- alluding to the protests sweeping the country, Amanpour elaborated. "Protests are sweeping Iran and women are burning their hijabs after the death last week of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by the "morality police,” she said.
“I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition,” she emphasized, saying that “The interview didn’t happen. As protests continue in Iran and people are being killed, it would have been an important moment to speak with President Raisi.”