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An interview between CNN International anchor Christiane Amanpour and Iranian President Ebrahim Rais was abruptly canceled because Amanpour refused to wear a hijab, she said on Twitter.
Iran’s state news agency did not specify the reason for the sudden cancellation, but blamed Amanpour for “refusal of protocol”. It said that protocol is set by the guest.
Amanpour said he plans to discuss, among other things, the large-scale protests that are spreading across Iran, including numerous incidents of women burning their hijabs to protest the death of a young woman named Mahsa Amini.
But after his team waited 40 minutes for Rais to arrive, his assistant approached. “He said the president advised me to wear a headscarf because it’s the Muharram and Safari holidays.” Amanpour said.
“I politely declined. We’re in New York, where there are no laws or traditions about headscarves,” Amanpour added. “I pointed out that no previous Iranian president has ever asked for that when I’ve interviewed them outside of Iran.”
For example, she gave several interviews in the US with the former president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, and did not wear a headscarf.
This time, the aide made it clear that the hijab was a condition of the interview, describing it as a “matter of respect,” according to the veteran journalist. It’s a condition that Amanpour called “unprecedented and unexpected.”
Amanpour’s father is Iranian and he spent part of his childhood in Tehran.