Iran President Ebrahim Raisi refuses interview with US journalist after she refuses to wear hijab

Amid ongoing protests seeking justice for Mahsa Amini in Iran, the country’s President gave a shocker on Thursday when he cancelled an interview with US journalist Christiane Amanpour because she refused to wear a hijab for the interaction. Mahsa Amini is an Iranian woman who was detained by the “morality police” for wearing a hijab improperly. Soon after her detention, she died, sparking protests across Iran.

Christiane Amanpour is CNN’s Chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour. She was scheduled to interview Raisi. Taking to Twitter, Amanpour said that she was suggested to wear the headscarf but after her denial, the interview got cancelled.

In a series of tweets, the anchor said that she planned to discuss the demonstrations, which are surging in Iran, including numerous incidents where women are burning their hijabs to protest over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, among other topics.

“This was going to be President Raisi’s first ever interview on US soil, during his visit to NY for UNGA. After weeks of planning and eight hours of setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras, we were ready. But no sign of President Raisi,” Amanpour said in a tweet.

She waited for 40 minutes for the President to come for the interview but was cancelled. “40 minutes after the interview had been due to start, an aide came over. The president, he said, was suggesting I wear a headscarf, because it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar. 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,” Amanpour said as she posted a picture of herself, without a hijab, sitting in front of an empty chair.

After Amanpour repeatedly declined to wear the Hijab, the interview, at the end, got cancelled. “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,” she tweeted.

The ongoing protests in Iran intensified on Wednesday, demonstrators hurled stones over security forces. The protestors burned vehicles and chanted anti-government slogans as the oppression against strict dress codes for women continued in Iran.

Citing the Iranian state media, CBS reported that police used tear gas and arrested to disperse crowds of up to 1,000 people on Wednesday as street rallies spread to 15 cities.