Amanpour Refuses to Wear Headscarf, Loses Major Interview

Journalist says she 'politely' shot down request from Iranian president because she's on US soil
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2022 12:15 PM CDT
Amanpour Refuses to Wear Headscarf, Loses Major Interview
International journalist Christiane Amanpour in a file photo.   (David L Ryan /The Boston Globe via AP)

(Newser) – Christiane Amanpour was all set to interview the Iranian president in New York on Wednesday when an aide to Ebrahim Raisi asked her to wear a headscarf. "I politely declined," the acclaimed journalist writes in a Twitter thread. "We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves." Amanpour said she told the aide that she had never been asked to wear a scarf for previous interviews with other Iranian presidents conducted outside Iran, but Raisi's representative wouldn't budge, per the Hill.

"The aide made it clear that the interview would not happen if I did not wear a headscarf," wrote Amanpour. "He said it was ‘a matter of respect,’ and referred to ‘the situation in Iran’—alluding to the protests sweeping the country." Amanpour wouldn't budge, either, and the interview was scrapped. In regard to those protests: Reuters reports that at least eight people have been killed in demonstrations over the death of a young woman in police custody after she was arrested by the nation's "morality police" for not wearing a hijab.

The protests show no signs of ebbing, and Iranian authorities have reportedly begun restricting access to the internet in an attempt to curb them. "As protests continue in Iran and people are being killed, it would have been an important moment to speak with President Raisi," wrote Amanpour. On Thursday, the US imposed sanctions on Iran's morality police and Iranian officials over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, reports the AP. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US calls on the Iranian government "to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly." (Read more Christiane Amanpour stories.)

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