An interview between Christiane Amanpour and Iran president Ebrahim Raisi was canceled after he requested she cover her hair.
In posts on her Twitter feed, Amanpour revealed that Raisi had kept her waiting for 40 minutes before making the request.
She had been slated to speak with Raisi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York to ask him about the ongoing protests in Iran.
“Protests are sweeping Iran & women are burning their hijabs after the death last week of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by the ‘morality police’. Human rights groups say at least 8 have been killed. Last night, I planned to ask President Raisi about all this and much more,” Amanpour wrote.
“The president, he said, was suggesting I wear a headscarf because it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar,” she tweeted.
The aide said the interview would not happen if the veteran newswoman did not wear a headscarf as “a matter of respect,” she said. He referred to “the situation in Iran,” meaning the widespread protests sweeping the country.
She added: “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.”
At least eight people have died in the protests across the country over a woman, Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after she was arrested in Tehran.
According to NPR, Amini was arrested by Iran’s “morality police,” who enforce rules regarding head coverings in public.
“Again, I said that I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition,” Amanpour said. “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.”
The veteran journalist said later on CNN’s New Day: “I have never been asked by any Iranian president, and I have interviewed every single one of them since 1995, either inside or outside Iran — never been asked to wear a headscarf.”