Iranian President ‘cancels’ interview after CNN anchor Amanpour refuses to wear headscarf

Shanzay Salman

Shanzay Salman

Features Editor
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi cancelled a long-planned interview with CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour in New York on Wednesday, after she declined a last-minute demand to wear a head scarf.

Reportedly, about 40 minutes after the interview was scheduled due to start and with Raisi running late, an aide to the President told CNN’s Chief International Anchor, Amanpour that the President had suggested she wear a head scarf during the interview.

Amanpour who had prepared well in-advance for the interview, and had been ready and waiting “politely declined.” The senior journalist shared in a Twitter post “I politely declined. 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. I said that I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition.”

Amanpour, who grew up in the Iranian capital Tehran and is also a Farsi speaker, said that she wears a head scarf while reporting in Iran because it is part of their local laws and customs, “otherwise you couldn’t operate as a journalist.” But she said that she would not cover her head to conduct an interview with an Iranian official outside a country where it is not required.

After the cancelled interview, Amanpour posted a picture of herself – without a headscarf, sitting in front of the empty chair where Raisi would have sat.