CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour rejects Iranian president’s request to wear a headscarf during interview

CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour rejects Iranian president’s request to wear a headscarf during interview

CNN’s international anchor Christiane Amanpour told CNN that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi demanded at the last minute to wear the headscarf “as a matter of respect” during a planned interview on Wednesday night, prompting her to “politely retract” his “unprecedented and unexpected” remarks. condition.”

Then my boss withdrew from the long-awaited interview.

As anti-government protests erupt on the streets of Iran after the death of a young woman in police custody, Amanpour had hoped to pressure Raisi over the news in his first-ever interview on US soil. The hard-line Iranian leader was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

In one of the biggest displays of defiance to the Islamic Republic in years, demonstrations erupted in the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death in custody after she was arrested last week by the so-called “morality police” in Tehran. She was arrested on allegations that she violated Iranian law requiring women to wear the headscarf in public. Iranian officials claimed that the 22-year-old woman died of a “heart attack”.

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Amanpour, who grew up in Tehran and speaks Farsi, told CNN New Day On Thursday mornings, she always adhered to wearing the headscarf and other local customs while covering Iran, adding that “you can’t work as a journalist” otherwise.

Noting that my boss has already done it A recent interview with CBS News’ 60 minutes Where “head covering was a problem,” Amanpour added, no other Iranian president – ​​“either inside or outside Iran” – insisted on covering her head during an interview.

The veteran journalist said the interview had been planned for weeks and that they spent hours setting up lights and cameras just so there was no “sign” of my boss.

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“Forty minutes after the interview was scheduled to begin, an aide came,” Tweeted Thursday morning. He said, “The chief, he was suggesting that I wear the hijab, because it is the holy month of Muharram and Safar.”

she added: “I politely refused. We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding the headscarf. I pointed out that no previous Iranian president had asked for it when I interviewed them outside Iran.”

Amanpour explained that the assistant said the interview would only take place if she wore a headscarf, telling her it was “a matter of respect” while referring to the “situation in Iran” – a clear reference to the widespread protests.

“Once again, I said I could not agree to this unprecedented and unexpected case,” she said. “And so we moved away. The interview did not happen. With the protests continuing in Iran and killing people, it was an important moment to speak with President Raisi.”

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request for new yesWhether she viewed this as my boss finding an excuse to avoid discussing protests at home, Amanpour said she “cannot prejudge this” because the interview remained on schedule before the abrupt withdrawal.

“I guess if I could only guess how I’m reading it, I think he wouldn’t want to be seen with a female without a head covering at the moment,” she concluded. “Either because he calls it a religious month, or because people will say how he sits with a foreign journalist who does not yet wear a hijab inside Iran, they are cracking down on young women who don’t wear a hijab.”

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