Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi didn’t turn up for a CNN interview when the interviewer, Christiane Amanpour, refused to wear a hijab during the taping.
Amanpour took to Twitter to explain the incident, stating that the interview was long planned and this would have been President Raisi’s first-ever interview on US soil. However, things didn’t go as planned.
“An aide came over and said that the President is suggesting that I wear a headscarf because it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar”, she said while adding that the aide made it clear that the “Interview would not happen if Amanpour did not wear a headscarf”.
She said that she “politely declined”, stressing that she was 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 interviewed them outside Iran,” she pointed out.
The journalist concluded by saying that because of the situation going on in Iran, it would have been an “important moment” to speak with President Raisi
“And so we walked away. 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.”
Anti-government protests erupted across Iran last week over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in custody, after having been arrested by Iran’s morality police on an accusation of violating the law on head scarves.
However, Iranian officials have claimed that Amini died after suffering a “heart attack” and falling into a coma, but her family has said she had no pre-existing heart condition.
Following the incident, thousands of people have taken to the streets. In the videos which are circulating on social media, women can be seen cutting their hair and burning their hijabs as a protest. According to media outlets, at least eight people have been killed in the demonstrations.
It is pertinent to mention that since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, it has been compulsory for women to wear the hijab in Iran.