Iran’s president abandons interview over anchor’s refusal to wear head scarf

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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.”

“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.

“I very politely declined on behalf of myself and CNN, and female journalists everywhere because it is not a requirement.”

Iranian law requires all women to wear a head covering and loose-fitting clothing in public. The rule has been enforced in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and it is obligatory for every woman in the country — including tourists, visiting political figures and journalists.

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