CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour said Thursday that she backed out of an interview with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after one of his aides said it wouldn’t happen unless she wore a veil.
In a Twitter thread, Amanpour recounted how his scheduled interview with Raisi on Wednesday night in New York fell apart, characterizing the assistant’s request as an “unexpected and unprecedented condition.”
Amanpour, CNN’s top international anchor, said she planned to ask Raisi about the protests that have taken place in Iran after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating its strict dress code. , died in custody. In the past week.
Raisi was in New York for the UN General Assembly.
Iranian authorities have said Amini died last Friday after falling ill and slipping into a coma while waiting with other women detained by the morality police. Authorities have acknowledged making arrests at subsequent protests, but denied ill-treating Amini and said they were investigating her death.
Amini’s family has denied that he had any health problems.
In recent days, Iranian security forces have clashed with anti-government protesters angry over Amini’s death, with some women burning their headscarves in defiance of the morality police and the country’s broader atmosphere of social repression. The deadly riots have been documented on social media.
Amanpour said she and her CNN team planned the interview over the course of weeks, spending eight hours Wednesday setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras.
“[W]We were ready,” he wrote in part. “But no sign of President Raisi.”
Forty minutes after the interview began, an aide to the Iranian president walked up and said the president was “suggesting” that Amanpour wear a headscarf in recognition of the holy months of Muharram and Safar, he wrote. (Amanpour did not identify the aide.)
“I politely declined,” Amanpour wrote. “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 interviewed them outside of Iran.”
“The attendant made it clear that the interview would not take place if he did not wear a headscarf,” he wrote. “He said it was ‘a matter of respect’ and referred to ‘the situation in Iran,’ alluding to the protests sweeping the country.”
Amanpour wrote that he told the assistant that he could not accept what he described as an “unexpected and unprecedented condition” for the interview.
“And so we walked away. Interview didn’t happen,” Amanpour wrote in the final post of the Twitter thread. “As protests continue in Iran and people are being killed, it would have been an important time to speak with President Raisi.”
Amanpour’s last tweet in the thread was accompanied by a photo of her in front of an empty chair.
NBC News could not immediately reach Raisi for comment because the president’s office is closed through Saturday.
In a statement, a CNN spokesperson said: “We fully support the decision of Christiane and her team to politely decline the interview with President Raisi.”
In a speech to world leaders at the UN on Wednesday, Raisi did not address the escalating unrest in his country, instead using his time to attack the West and what he characterized as the “double standards of some governments regarding human rights.” humans”.
Source : www.nbcnews.com