Hijab is mandatory: Iran president cancels CNN interview after anchor refuses to wear hijab, calls anti-hijab protests ‘act of chaos’

According to journalist Christiane Amanpour, an interview with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi was cancelled when he asked the seasoned anchor to wear a hijab, the subject of protracted demonstrations in Iran for the past week.

As CNN’s lead foreign anchor Christiane Amanpour was getting ready for the interview with the Iranian president, the president’s adviser asked her to wear a hijab.

“I politely declined. We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves,” British-Iranian journalist wrote on Twitter.

She continued in a string of tweets, “I said that I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition.”

In addition to the tweets, Amanpour also shared a photo of herself, without a hijab, sitting in front of an empty chair where Iranian President Raisi was meant to be for the interview.

Amid widespread protests brought on by the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, last week, who was detained by the controversial morality police in Tehran for not ‘wearing a hijab properly’ and allegedly assaulted, Iran blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp and imposed severe restrictions on internet access.

According to a non-governmental organisation, the violent crackdown on the protesters has resulted in the deaths of at least 31 Iranian civilians, according to AFP.

Iran has freedom of expression, but the protests happening now are unacceptable “acts of chaos”, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday, adding that he had ordered a probe into the death of a young woman that sparked bloody demonstrations.

“Rights issues must be considered all around the world with a single standard,” Raisi told a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

“There is freedom of expression in Iran … but acts of chaos are unacceptable.”