In a series of tweets, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour claimed that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi did not turn up for a scheduled interview and his aide insisted that Amanpour wear a headscarf if she wanted to interview Raisi.
Amid the massive protests over the death of a young woman named Mahsa Amini, who was allegedly detained and tortured in custody by Iran's morality police for not wearing a headscarf, Amanpour was set to interview Raisi in New York on Thursday.
It was his first interview on US soil as he was visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly session.
"After weeks of planning and eight hours of setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras, we were ready. But no sign of President Raisi," she tweeted.
Forty minutes after the interview was scheduled to start, Raisi's aide approached Amanpour and said that the president suggested she wear a headscarf due to the ongoing holy months of Muharram and Safar.
Amanpour politely declined, as she was in New York, which did not have any laws and traditions that demanded her to wear a headscarf, and no previous Iranian president had required her to wear one when she interviewed them outside of Iran.
She claimed that Raisi's aide said that the interview would not take place if she did not wear a headscarf as it was "a matter of respect" and referred to "the situation in Iran," hinting at the ongoing protests in the country.
Protests in Iran
The number of people who have died in the protests that have rocked Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini has risen to 31, AFP reported on Thursday, 22 September.
The woman, Mahsa Amini, was travelling from Iran's western province of Kurdistan, from where she hails, to Tehran to visit relatives on 14 September. During this time, she was reportedly nabbed by the "guidance patrol" or morality police for failing to meet the country's strict dress code for women.
Several witnesses said that she was then beaten up in a police van, as per The Guardian.
A video of her being purportedly shoved into a van has also been going viral on social media. However, the country's police have denied all allegations.
As per Iranian human rights organisation Hrana, Amini's family were told by the police that their daughter would be released after a "re-education session."
Later, they were informed that she had been taken to the hospital, and transferred to an intensive care unit, where she was declared brain dead.
On the other hand, the police said that the 22-year-old died after suffering a heart attack on 16 September – two days after she was allegedly arrested.
Several women took to the streets to protest against Amini's death and removed their hijabs to mark their solidarity.