Speed Reads

'very unsettling'

Iran president cancels interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour after she refuses to wear head scarf

CNN's Christiane Amanpour has revealed that the president of Iran refused to sit for a scheduled interview with her after she declined to wear a head scarf. 

Amanpour, chief international anchor at CNN, explained on the network that she was set to interview Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in New York, only to be told at the last minute that she would have to wear a head scarf. 

"I very politely declined on behalf of myself and CNN and female journalists everywhere because it is not a requirement, and it was lobbed at us at the very last minute," she said. "And very unfortunately, they decided to pull the interview."

Amanpour described the request as unusual because the interview was to take place in the United States, not Iran. "In New York or anywhere else outside of Iran, I have never been asked by any Iranian president [to wear a head scarf], and I have interviewed every single one of them since 1995," she said. She also explained the request was made after hours of discussions to plan the interview.

This revelation came during a discussion on CNN about protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after she was arrested for allegedly wearing her head scarf improperly. "This has been going on much, much more stringently since the election of this current government," Amanpour explained, describig her experience trying to interview Iran's president as "very unsettling." 

CNN anchor John Berman suggested the true reason Raisi canceled the interview was because "they didn't want to talk to you about what's happening now on the streets," though Amanpour suggested the president "did not want to be seen with a female without a head scarf in this moment."