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CNN Anchor Ends Interview With Iranian President After Refusing To Wear Headscarf

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour says she walked out of an interview with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in New York City after she refused his request to wear a headscarf.

In a lengthy thread posted on Twitter, Amanpour explained how the interview was slated to be Raisi’s first on U.S. soil and that she had planned to ask him a slew of important questions.

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But about 40 minutes before the interview was set to begin, Amanpour said an aide approached her and suggested she wear a headscarf due to it being the holy months of Muharram and Safar.

Amanpour said she declined the request given that an Iranian president has never required this of her in past interviews held outside of Iran.

After hours of preparation, the aide told her the interview would not happen if she did not comply with Raisi’s request.

“I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition,” she said via Twitter. “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.”

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She later spoke on CNN’s “New Day” about the entire situation.

You know, I’m used to covering these kinds of situations. I will wear a head scarf in Iran where it’s actually the law and pretty much you have to, certainly as a foreign correspondent. But here you don’t. I just figured instantly in that moment that I had no choice but to, a, stand up for journalistic principles, and b, it’s happening at a very important time, when the whole idea of the hijab is at issue in this terrible round of protests.

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We have videos interviewing various Iranian presidents over the years and there is this precedent of here in the U.S. Not wearing it. This time in particular, because this woman died in police custody from these.

It’s unprecedented that we’ve got this kind of pressure and this kind of suggestion. I genuinely believe that, a, either he did not want to do the interview, or he did not want to be seen publicly, especially inside Iran with a female journalist who is not wearing a scarf given the circumstances.

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The important thing is what’s happening, and of course, I would have wanted to ask him how he is going to deal with that, which is the most significant protest in Iran since 2019. And back then, there was, according to various different press sources and social media, because, you know, there is no other way they get news, something like officially 1,500 was killed. Others say a lot more. And this is taking on a whole life of its own. It’s very difficult to tell where it’s going to go. And I know everybody immediately wants to think is this the end of the regime? I don’t think so, because they will crack down. They’re already saying it.

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