Iranian president cancels TUSEN interview in NYC after Christiane Amanpour rejects headscarf

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The Iranian president on Thursday canceled a long-scheduled interview with TUSEN’s Christiane Amanpour because she refused to wear a headscarf.

The journalist said the interview with President Ebrahim Raisi had been scheduled for weeks, but Raisi was at least 40 minutes late.

The interview was scheduled to coincide with Raisi’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan.

Amanpour said Raisi’s assistant approached her and suggested she wear a headscarf for the interview. In recent weeks, Iran has been rocked by protests after a young woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing a headscarf. At least eight people have been killed in the demonstrations.

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“I politely declined,” Amanpour said on Twitter. “We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves. I pointed out that no previous Iranian president has demanded this when I interviewed them outside of Iran.”

Growing up in Tehran, Amanpour also interviewed Iran’s two previous presidents, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Rouhani. Raisi’s assistant insisted, but Amanpour refused, calling the demand “unprecedented and unexpected.”

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Raisi never showed up, and Amanpour tweeted a photo that showed she was sitting across from an empty chair.

“As the protests in Iran continue and people are being killed, it would have been an important moment to talk to President Raisi,” she wrote.

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