Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim Raisi Reuters/Majid Asgaripour/WANA

Iran’s president walked out on an interview with CNN Wednesday, after one of the anchors refused his demand she wear a hijab.

The interview was to be held in New York Wednesday, during Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to the US for his address at the United Nations General Assembly.

Christiane Amanpour, a veteran journalist for the cable news channel, was waiting to interview Raisi Wednesday when an aide to the Iranian president urged her to wear a headscarf, she tweeted Thursday.

“This was going to be President Raisi’s first ever 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.”

“40 minutes after the interview had been due to start, an aide came over. The president, he said, was suggesting I wear a headscarf, because it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar.”

Amanpour, who has interviewed numerous world leaders including two Iranian presidents, declined Raisi’s request, noting that neither of his predecessors whom she had interviewed had made any similar demands.

“I politely declined. We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves. I pointed out that no previous Iranian president has required this when I have interviewed them outside Iran.”

“The aide made it clear that the interview would not happen if I did not wear a headscarf. He said it was ‘a matter of respect,’ and referred to ‘the situation in Iran’ - alluding to the protests sweeping the country.”

“Again, I said that I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition. And so we walked away. The interview didn’t happen. As protests continue in Iran and people are being killed, it would have been an important moment to speak with President Raisi.”