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Iranian president cancels interview with Amanpour over her refusal to wear headscarf

Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, has cancelled an interview in New York with the veteran CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour after she refused to wear a headscarf at his request.

In a series of tweets, the chief international anchor of CNN said that she had been scheduled to meet Raisi on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly, and had planned to ask him about various topics, including the outbreak of protests in Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was arrested and beaten by “morality police” for violating headscarf laws.

“This was going to be President Raisi’s first ever interview on US soil, during his visit to NY for UNGA. After weeks of planning and eight hours of setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras, we were ready. But no sign of President Raisi,” Amanpour tweeted on Thursday.

Forty minutes after the interview was scheduled to begin, an aide approached Amanpour and told her that Raisi was “suggesting [she] wear a headscarf, because it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar”, she wrote.

Amanpour said she declined the request, explaining that “we are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves”. She added that no other Iranian president has required that she wear a headscarf when she 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 said.

“Again, I said that I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition.”

As a result, Amanpour and her team walked away and the interview did not take place. A picture Amanpour posted at the end of her tweets showed her wearing a white suit while sitting across an empty chair as she awaited the Iranian president, her hair uncovered. (TheGuardian.Com)

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