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CNN journalist cancels interview with Iranian president when asked to wear headscarf

Christiane Amanpour waited for 40 minutes until she was told by an aid that President Raisi requested she wear a headscarf

Source: Daily Mail

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.'

Police said she died of a heart attack and did not suffer any mistreatment, despite experts' claims she was severely beaten.

State-mandated headscarves have been removed by women in the streets and others shared videos of them defying the draconian dress codes in an open challenge to the authoritarian regime.

At least 10 people have been killed as violence grips the republic.

The US imposed sanctions today on the morality police, accusing it of abuse and violence against Iranian women and of violating the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters.

The US Treasury also said it had put sanctions on the heads of the Iranian army's ground forces and of the morality police as well as on Iran's minister of intelligence.

To prevent protests from spreading, Iran's biggest telecom operator largely shut down mobile internet access again Thursday, said Netblocks, a group that monitors internet access, describing the restrictions as the most severe since 2019.

Reports from Kurdish rights group Hengaw said three protesters were killed on Wednesday, bringing the death toll from the protests to 10.

An anchor on Iran's state television suggested the death toll from the mass protests could be as high as 17 on Thursday but did not say how he reached that figure.

'Unfortunately, 17 people and police officers present at the scene of these events lost their lives,' the Iranian anchor said, adding official statistics would be released later.

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