New Delhi: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi canceled an interview with a US journalist on Thursday after she refused to wear a hijab. It comes amid widespread protests in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman in police custody for violating the hijab law. Iran’s president abruptly canceled an interview with CNN’s chief international anchor Christian Amanpour after the journalist refused to wear a hijab. Amanpour said on Twitter that she was asked to wear a headscarf but after she refused, the interview was cancelled. In a series of tweets, the anchor said he planned to discuss the growing protests in Iran, including numerous incidents of women burning their hijabs to protest the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, among other issues. “This was going to be President Raisi’s first interview on US soil during his visit to NY for UNGA. After weeks of planning and eight hours of setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras, we were ready. But no sign of President Raisi,” Amanpour quoted in a tweet. The female journalist waited 40 minutes to interview Raisi but at the end, the interview was cancelled.
“40 minutes after the interview started, an assistant came in. He said, the president advised me to wear a headscarf, because it is the holy month of Muharram and the visit. I politely declined. We are new arrivals. York, where there are no laws or traditions regarding headscarves. No. I mentioned that when I interviewed them outside of Iran, no previous president of Iran required it,” Amanpour said while posting a photo of herself without a hijab sitting in front. of an empty chair.
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The interview was eventually canceled after Amanpour repeatedly refused to wear the hijab. “And so we left. The interview didn’t happen. As protests continue and people are being killed in Iran, speaking with President Raisi was an important moment,” he tweeted.
Protesters threw stones at security forces on Wednesday as part of ongoing protests in Iran. Protesters set fire to vehicles and chanted anti-government slogans as repression of Iran’s strict dress code for women continued. Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of 1,000 people and arrested people on Wednesday, according to CBS, citing Iranian state media. Meanwhile, UN experts strongly condemned the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on Thursday. According to a press release from the United Nations Human Rights Office, experts condemned violence by Iranian security forces against peaceful protesters and human rights defenders demanding accountability for Amini’s death in cities across the country.
They called on the Iranian authorities to avoid further gratuitous violence and to immediately end the use of lethal force in policing peaceful protests. “We are shocked and deeply saddened by Amini’s death. She is yet another victim of the ongoing repression and systematic discrimination against women in Iran and the imposition of discriminatory dress codes that deprive women of bodily autonomy and freedom of opinion, expression and belief,” experts say.
According to Al Jazeera, Mahsa Amini, 22, was on a family visit to Tehran when she was detained by specialist police units. After some time in detention, he suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital with the help of emergency services.
“Unfortunately, he died and his body has been transferred to the medical examiner’s office,” state television said on Friday, Al Jazeera reported. The announcement came a day after Tehran police confirmed that Amini had been detained along with other women for “regulation”. Following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, several female protesters cut their hair and burned their hijabs to protest against the mandatory veiling of women. Following the incident, which sparked outrage on social media, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered the interior minister to launch an investigation. Amini’s death came amid criticism both inside and outside Iran of the morality police, officially known as the Gasht-e Ershad (Guidance Patrol).
According to Al Jazeera, the mandatory dress code, which applies not only to Iranian Muslims but to all nationalities and religions, requires women to cover their hair and necks with headscarves. Women have increasingly resisted, especially in major cities, wearing their headscarves behind their heads to reveal their hair.