CNN – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi withdrew from a long-planned interview with CNN’s chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, after she declined a last-minute demand to wear a head scarf.
Some 40 minutes after the interview was scheduled due to start and with Raisi running late, an aide told Amanpour the president had suggested that she wear a head scarf. Amanpour said that she “politely declined.”
Amanpour, who grew up in the Iranian capital Tehran and is a fluent Farsi speaker, said that she wears a head scarf while reporting in Iran to comply with the local laws and customs, “otherwise you couldn’t operate as a journalist.” But she said that she would not cover her head to conduct an interview with an Iranian official outside a country where it is not required.
“Here in New York, or anywhere else outside of Iran, I have never been asked by any Iranian president – and I have interviewed every single one of them since 1995 – either inside or outside of Iran, never been asked to wear a head scarf,” she said on CNN’s “New Day” program Thursday.