Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi withdrew from a long-planned interview with CNN’s chief worldwide anchor Christiane Amanpour on the United Nations Common Meeting in New York on Wednesday, after she declined a last-minute demand to put on a head scarf.
Some 40 minutes after the interview was scheduled as a result of begin and with Raisi operating late, an aide informed Amanpour the president had urged that she put on a head scarf. Amanpour mentioned that she “politely declined.”
Amanpour, who grew up within the Iranian capital Tehran and is a fluent Farsi speaker, mentioned that she wears a head scarf whereas reporting in Iran to adjust to the native legal guidelines and customs, “in any other case you couldn’t function as a journalist.” However she mentioned that she wouldn’t cowl her head to conduct an interview with an Iranian official exterior a rustic the place it’s not required.
“Right here in New York, or anyplace else exterior of Iran, I’ve by no means been requested by any Iranian president – and I’ve interviewed each single one among them since 1995 – both inside or exterior of Iran, by no means been requested to put on a head scarf,” she mentioned on CNN’s “New Day” program Thursday.
“I very politely declined on behalf of myself and CNN, and feminine journalists in every single place as a result of it’s not a requirement.”
Iranian regulation requires all ladies to put on a head masking and loose-fitting clothes in public. The rule has been enforced in Iran because the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and it’s compulsory for each lady within the nation – together with vacationers, visiting political figures and journalists.
Amanpour mentioned that Raisi’s aide made clear that the interview – which might have been the Iranian president’s first on American soil – wouldn’t occur if she didn’t put on a head scarf. He referred to it as “a matter of respect,” given that it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar, and referred to “the scenario in Iran,” alluding to the protests sweeping the nation, she added.
Anti-government protests erupted throughout Iran final week over the dying of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini whereas in custody, after having been arrested by Iran’s morality police on an accusation of violating the regulation on head scarves.
1000’s of individuals have taken to streets, with some ladies reducing their hair and burning their hijabs in protest towards the regulation. Human rights teams have reported that no less than eight individuals have been killed within the demonstrations, which have been met with a pointy crackdown by authorities, in response to witnesses and movies shared on social media.
The demonstrations look like probably the most large-scale shows of defiance towards the Islamic Republic’s rule, one which has develop into extra stringent because the election of Raisi’s hard-line authorities final 12 months. After eight years of Hassan Rouhani’s reasonable administration, Iran elected Raisi, an ultra-conservative judiciary chief whose views are according to the pondering of the nation’s highly effective clergy and Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In Iran, the pinnacle scarf is a potent image of a set of non-public guidelines imposed by the nation’s clerical leaders, which govern what individuals can put on, watch and do. Over the previous decade, protests have flared as many Iranians have grown resentful of these limitations.
Amini’s dying has fueled an outpouring of long-simmering anger over restrictions on private freedoms. Surveys and reviews in recent times have proven an growing variety of Iranians don’t consider the hijab, or head scarf, must be necessary.
Iranian officers have claimed Amini died after struggling a “coronary heart assault” and falling right into a coma, however her household have mentioned she had no pre-existing coronary heart situation, in response to Emtedad information, an Iranian pro-reform media outlet. Skepticism over the officers’ account of her dying has additionally stoked the general public outcry.
CCTV footage launched by Iran’s state media confirmed Mahsa Amini collapsing at a “re-education” middle the place she was taken by the morality police to obtain “steering” on her apparel.
Amanpour had deliberate to probe Raisi on the Amini’s dying and the protests, in addition to the nuclear deal and Iran’s assist for Russia in Ukraine, however mentioned that she needed to stroll away.
“As protests proceed in Iran and individuals are being killed, it could have been an essential second to talk with President Raisi,” she mentioned in a Twitter thread.