CNN’s Christiane Amanpour canceled an interview with the Iranian president after he asked her to wear a headscarf amid the civil unrest in Tehran.
The Chief International Anchor, 64, was set to interview President Ebrahim Raisi, 61, at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday when he demanded she wear a headscarf at the last minute.
Amanpour – who is Iranian and grew up in Tehran – declined the request, writing on her Instagram: ‘We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves. I pointed out that no previous Iranian president has required this when I have interviewed them outside Iran.’
When she interviewed former President Hassan Rouhani, she did not wear a headscarf either. However, the journalist does wear one while reporting inside Iran, because ‘otherwise you couldn’t operate as a journalist,’ she told CNN’s New Day.
All women, including tourists, have had to wear a headscarf in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The veteran anchor said an aide came in 40 minutes after the interview was supposed to start to ask her to accommodate Raisi’s wishes, who reportedly requested it as it is the ‘holy months of Muharram and Safar.’
‘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 wrote on Instagram.
‘Again, I said that I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition,’ she continued. ‘And so we walked away.’
It was supposed to be the first time Raisi would have been interviewed on American soil. He was visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
Amanpour was set to talk to the Iranian president about the growing tensions in Tehran, where women are burning their hijabs after the death of Mansa Amini, 22.
Riots erupted when Mahsa Amini died after being arrested by Islamic Republic’s morality police for wearing ‘unsuitable attire.’