Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi canceled his interview with Christiane Amanpour for CNN after she refused to cover her head at his behest.
Taking to Twitter, Amanpour narrated the whole incident of how a scheduled interview with the Iranian president couldn’t go as planned. Referring to the current political turmoil Iran currently faces, she said, “As protests continue in Iran and people are being killed, it would have been an important moment to speak with President Raisi.”
Amanpour said that almost 40 minutes after the scheduled time of interview, an aide to the president came to her and conveyed her the message to wear a headscarf.
The aide said the president asked her to cover her head as these are the holy months of Muharram and Safar, she said. President Raisi’s aide also made it clear that the president wouldn’t allow the interview to take place unless she complies with his demand by covering her head.
Amanpour grew up in Tehran. She wore a headscarf while reporting in Iran, in compliance with local laws and customs. She said she sat with several Iranian presidents outside of the country while interviewing them. But, none of them reportedly asked her to wear a headscarf, she pointed out.
Amanpour, however, said she turned down his request and walked away from the interview.
Later, Amanpour referred to the incident during an interview with Iranian-American journalist Holly Dagres, who supported the gesture displayed by the CNN journalist.
Protests erupted in the Islamic Republic of Iran following the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of the morality police.
The country’s morality police arrested the 22-year-old woman on September 13 in Tehran for allegedly wearing a loose hijab. She passed away in police custody on September 16.
Thousands of Iranians took to the streets in protest over the death of the young woman. According to state television, at least 26 people have died as a result of the protests. The local media also reported that over 1,200 people have sustained injuries while clashing with the law-enforcers.
According to Amnesty International, over 30 people—four of them children—have passed away. However, the state media reported that 35 people have died in the protests.
The protesters, who took part in huge demonstrations in over 40 cities, including Tehran, demanded an end to the violence and discrimination against women. They also demanded the government abolish the compulsory hijab for women.