CNN’s veteran international affairs correspondent Christiane Amanpour said a planned televised interview with the president of Iran this week was canceled after she refused his demand that she don a head covering.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was among hundreds of world leaders who flew to New York this week to take part in the annual United Nations General Assembly.
Amanpour took to Twitter on Thursday, posting a photograph showing her sitting in front of an empty chair that was supposed to be occupied by Raisi during their interview.
She said she wanted to ask the Iranian leader about protests that have erupted in his country following the death of a 22-year-old woman who was taken into police custody for refusing to wear a head covering.
“Protests are sweeping Iran & women are burning their hijabs after the death last week of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by the ‘morality police’,” Amanpour tweeted Thursday.
“Human rights groups say at least 8 have been killed. Last night, I planned to ask President Raisi about all this and much more.”
The British-born Amanpour, whose father was Iranian, said the interview was planned weeks in advance. She tweeted that it took CNN’s crews eight hours to set up the translation equipment, lights and cameras.
“But no sign of President Raisi,” according to Amanpour, 64, who lived in Tehran until she was 11.
The veteran broadcast journalist then said that “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,” Amanpour tweeted.
“I politely declined,” Amanpour tweeted.
“We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves.”
She added: “I pointed out that no previous Iranian president has required this when I have interviewed them outside Iran.”
“The aide made it clear that the interview would not happen if I did not wear a headscarf,” Amanpour tweeted.
“He said it was ‘a matter of respect,’ and referred to ‘the situation in Iran’ — alluding to the protests sweeping the country,” according to the CNN veteran.
She then tweeted: “Again, I said that I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition.”
Amanpour ended the tweet thread by writing: “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 Post has sought comment from the Iranian government.