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Iran’s president withdraws from interview after CNN reporter denies wearing a veil

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has backed out of a long-planned interview with the top international anchor of the CNN Christiane Amanpour, at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday (21), after she turned down a last-minute demand to wear a veil covering her head.

About 40 minutes after the interview was set to begin and with President Raisi already late, an aide told Amanpour that the president had suggested she wear a headscarf. Amanpour said she “politely declined.”

Amanpour, who grew up in the Iranian capital Tehran and is fluent in Farsi, said he wears a veil on his head while reporting in Iran to comply with local laws and customs, “otherwise you would not be able to act as a journalist.” But she said she would not cover her head to conduct an interview with an Iranian official outside a country where it is not mandatory.

“Here in New York, or anywhere else outside of Iran, no Iranian president has ever asked me – and I have interviewed all of them since 1995, inside and outside Iran – to wear a headscarf,” she said on the “New York” program. Day” from CNN North American this Thursday (22).

“I politely declined on behalf of myself and the CNN and female journalists everywhere because that’s not a requirement.”

Iranian law requires all women to cover their heads and wear loose clothing in public. The rule has been in effect in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and is mandatory for all women in the country – including tourists, visiting political figures and journalists.

Amanpour said Raisi’s aide made it clear that the interview – which would have been the Iranian president’s first on American soil – would not take place if she didn’t wear a headscarf. He referred to this as “a matter of respect” as it is the holy months of Muharram and Safar, and referred to the “situation in Iran”, alluding to the protests sweeping the country, she added.

Anti-government protests erupted across Iran last week over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in custody after she was arrested by Iran’s morality police on charges of violating the headscarf law.

Thousands of people took to the streets, with some women cutting their hair and burning their hijabs in protest against the law. Human rights groups reported that at least eight people were killed in the demonstrations, which were met with heavy repression by authorities, according to witnesses and videos shared on social media.

The demonstrations appear to be the broadest demonstrations of defiance against the Islamic Republic’s government, which has become stricter since the election of Raisi’s hardline government last year.

After eight years of Hassan Rouhani’s moderate administration, Iran has elected Raisi, an ultra-conservative judiciary chief whose views are in line with the thinking of the country’s powerful clergy and supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In Iran, the head veil is a powerful symbol of a set of personal rules imposed by the country’s clerical leaders, which govern what people can wear, watch and do. Over the past decade, protests have exploded as many Iranians have resented these limitations.

The death of young Amini fueled a long-standing wave of anger over restrictions on personal freedoms. Surveys in recent years have shown that an increasing number of Iranians do not believe that the hijab, or head scarf, should be mandatory.

Christiane Amanpour

Iranian officials said Amini died after suffering a “heart attack” and falling into a coma, but her family said she had no pre-existing heart problems, according to Emtedad News, a pro-reform Iranian media outlet. Skepticism over the authorities’ account of the young woman’s death has also fueled public outcry.

Security camera footage released by Iranian state media showed Mahsa Amini collapsing at a “re-education” center, where she was taken by morality police to receive “guidance” about her attire.

Amanpour planned to interview Raisi about Amini’s death and the protests, as well as the nuclear deal and Iran’s support for Russia in the invasion of Ukraine, but said she had to decline.

“As protests continue in Iran and people are being killed, it would have been an important time to speak with President Raisi,” she said in a statement. topic on twitter.

Source: CNN Brasil

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