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Iran leader shuns Christiane Amanpour interview over refusal to wear headscarf – The Guardian

Iran leader shuns Christiane Amanpour interview over refusal to wear headscarf

President Ebrahim Raisi had been scheduled to talk in New York to veteran CNN correspondent, who was widely praised for her stance

President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran speaks at 77th General Assembly addresses the United Nations general assembly in New York this week.

Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, has cancelled an interview in New York with the veteran CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour after she refused to wear a headscarf at his request.

In a series of tweets, the chief international anchor of CNN said that she had been scheduled to meet Raisi on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly, and had planned to ask him about various topics, including the outbreak of protests in Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was arrested and beaten by “morality police” for violating headscarf laws.

“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,” Amanpour tweeted on Thursday.

Forty minutes after the interview was scheduled to begin, an aide approached Amanpour and told her that Raisi was “suggesting [she] wear a headscarf, because it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar”, she wrote.

Amanpour said she declined the request, explaining that “we are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves”. She added that no other Iranian president has required that she wear a headscarf when she interviewed them outside Iran.

Christiane Amanpour: ‘We are in New York, where there is no law or tradition regarding headscarves.’

“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,” Amanpour said.

“Again, I said that I couldn’t agree to this unprecedented and unexpected condition.”

As a result, Amanpour and her team walked away and the interview did not take place. A picture Amanpour posted at the end of her tweets showed her wearing a white suit while sitting across from an empty chair as she awaited the Iranian president, her hair uncovered.

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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. 7/7 pic.twitter.com/kMFyQY99Zh

— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) September 22, 2022

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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. 7/7 pic.twitter.com/kMFyQY99Zh

— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) September 22, 2022

The British-Iranian journalist’s refusal to wear a headscarf was met with widespread praise online.

“Good for @amanpour. The days in which Iranian officials require female reporters and officials to wear the hejab in order to get interviews and meetings should be over. Forced hejab reflects an antiquated and intolerant ideology not a culture,” tweeted Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian-American policy analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, a DC-based thinktank.

The NPR radio host Esther Ciammachilli retweeted Amanpour’s photo, writing, “What they mean when they say, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ Christiane Amanpour’s integrity is fully intact.”

Bahman Kalbasi, the New York and UN correspondent for BBC’s Persian Service, echoed similar sentiments, tweeting: “Raisi doesn’t show up to interview with CNN after Christiane Amanpour refuses to put on regime’s hijab. Iran regime’s president seems to think he can impose the hijab in NYC too. #MahsaAmini.”

A woman holds a poster that shows two portraits of a young woman. In the bottom photo, the woman is in a hospital bed.

Raisi was repeatedly asked about Amini’s death during a briefing with reporters on Thursday morning which Iranian officials initially tried to confine to the subject of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear deal with the west.

Raisi repeated official claims that Amini had died from a heart attack or stroke while in custody and said similar deaths in custody had occurred in the US and UK.

At least three women who attended the briefing were not wearing headscarves. One New York Times reporter was barred from the briefing for reporting that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was seriously ill.

In a statement released Thursday, a New York Times spokesperson said: “Iranian state media has reported comments made by an official that a New York Times correspondent must ‘admit a mistake’ in her coverage of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in order to attend a press conference with President Raisi.”

“We stand by our reporting by Farnaz Fassihi on the health of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which was corroborated by senior sources. Iranian officials were given the opportunity to comment on our story and chose not to respond,” the spokesperson added.

At least 31 people have died in six days of protests since Amini’s death. Iranian women have been taking to the streets and the internet to burn their headscarves and cut their hair.

“A law that tramples on human dignity isn’t a normal law,” said one female protester.

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17 dead in northeast China restaurant fire: Report – India Today

A fire at a restaurant in northeastern China on Wednesday killed 17 people and injured three, according to local authorities.

The blaze broke out at 12:40 pm in an eatery in the city of Changchun, the local government said in a statement posted on the Weibo social media platform.

Firefighters “rushed to the scene” and completed search and rescue work by 3 pm, the statement said.

READ | How strong is Xi Jinping’s position in today’s China?

“The injured have been sent to hospital for treatment while posthumous care for the victims is being carried out,” it added.

Authorities said the cause of the incident is under investigation.

Changchun is an auto manufacturing center and the capital of Jilin province.

— ENDS —

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Nation and world news at a glance – West Hawaii Today

Jan. 6 panel delays hearing
as Hurricane Ian aims at Florida

The House Jan. 6 committee has postponed a hearing scheduled for Wednesday as a hurricane hurtles toward the Florida coast. The committee had planned to hold what was likely to be its final investigative hearing Wednesday afternoon. But lawmakers decided at the last minute to delay it as it became clear that Hurricane Ian was churning on a collision course toward Florida, where it is expected to strengthen into a catastrophic Category 4 storm. The committee had not yet provided a specific agenda for the Wednesday hearing, but Rep. Adam Schiff said over the weekend it would “tell the story about a key element of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the election.”

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Senate passes spending package
to help avert a government shutdown

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to move forward with a temporary spending package needed to keep the federal government running past Friday, drawing closer to averting a shutdown after Democrats dropped an energy proposal that had drawn bipartisan opposition. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the majority leader, had tucked the energy measure into the must-pass bill to fulfill a promise Democratic leaders made privately to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in exchange for Manchin’s vote last month for the party’s major climate, tax and health care law. But the inclusion of the proposal, which would make it easier to build oil, gas, solar and wind infrastructure around the country, had rankled lawmakers in both parties.

Sedition trial of Oath Keepers gets underway

Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia, and four other members of the far-right group prepared to present a novel defense as they went on trial Tuesday for seditious conspiracy in the attack on the Capitol last year. They intend to tell the jury that when armed teams of Oath Keepers made plans to rush into Washington from Virginia on Jan. 6, 2021, they believed they would be following legal orders from the president. Lawyers for the five defendants are set to argue that the Oath Keepers were waiting Jan. 6 for President Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, which grants the president wide powers to quell unrest.

Senators push to reform
police’s cellphone tracking tools

Civil rights lawyers and Democratic senators are pushing for legislation that would limit U.S. law enforcement agencies’ ability to buy cellphone tracking tools to follow people’s whereabouts, including back years in time, and sometimes without a search warrant. Concerns about police use of the tool known as “Fog Reveal” raised in an investigation by The Associated Press published earlier this month also surfaced in a Federal Trade Commission hearing three weeks ago. Police agencies have been using the platform to search hundreds of billions of records gathered from 250 million mobile devices, and hoover up people’s geolocation data to assemble so-called “patterns of life,” according to thousands of pages of records about the company.

Meta removes Chinese effort
to influence US elections

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said on Tuesday that it had discovered and taken down what it described as the first targeted Chinese campaign to interfere in U.S. politics ahead of the midterm elections in November. Unlike the Russian efforts over the past two presidential elections, however, the Chinese campaign appeared limited in scope — and clumsy at times. The fake posts began appearing on Facebook and Instagram, as well as on Twitter, in November 2021. They mangled the English language and failed to attract many followers. Two Meta officials said they could not definitively attribute the campaign to any group or individuals.

Kremlin announces vote,
paves way to annex part of Ukraine

Pro-Moscow officials say that residents in all four occupied areas of Ukraine voted to join Russia. The Kremlin-orchestrated votes have been dismissed by the U.S. and its Western allies as illegitimate. According to Russia-installed election officials, 93% of the ballots case in the Zaporizhzhia region were in support of annexation, as were 87% of ballots in the southern Kherson region and 98% in Luhansk. The preordained outcome sets the stage for a dangerous new phase in Russia’s seven-month war in Ukraine because it is expected to serve as a pretext for Moscow to annex the four areas. That could happen within days.

By wire sources

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Nuclear attack in Ukraine should spark ‘devastating’ Nato response, says Poland – The Guardian

Nuclear attack in Ukraine should spark ‘devastating’ Nato response, says Poland

Zbigniew Rau rules out a nuclear reprisal but says the alliance is sending a clear message to Russia

A Ukrainian flag waves on a street of the recently liberated village of Vysokopillya in the Kherson region

Poland’s foreign minister, Zbigniew Rau, has said Nato’s response to any use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine should be non-nuclear but “devastating”.

Speaking on a visit to Washington, Rau said the alliance was in the process of delivering that message to Moscow.

The Russian military debacle in Ukraine, where its forces are being pushed back in the east of the country, has increased concerns that a desperate Vladimir Putin could resort to using a nuclear weapon, possibly a lower-yield tactical warhead, in a bid to shock Ukraine into halting its resistance to his invasion.

“To the best of our knowledge, Putin is threatening to use tactical nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil, not to attack Nato, which means that Nato should respond in a conventional way,” Rau told the NBC News program Meet the Press. “But the response should be devastating. And I suppose this is the clear message that the Nato alliance is sending to Russia right now.”

The US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, warned on Sunday that any nuclear use by the Kremlin would have “catastrophic consequences for Russia”, which had been “spelled out” in private conversations with Russian officials.

The Russian military has expanded conscription with the official aim of sending 300,000 more soldiers into Ukraine, though there are reports the real goal is considerably more. The mobilisation has triggered unrest and an exodus across Russia’s borders, particularly of draft-age men.

“Obviously, President Putin is losing the war in Ukraine,” Rau said. “So his reaction to it is to launch mobilisation. But the mobilisation doesn’t seem to help him win the war.”

The Polish foreign minister said Ukraine’s armed forces had already defeated Russia’s professional soldiers, so the new conscripts who were “poorly trained and poorly equipped” were unlikely to change the course of the war.

Rau said that if the mobilisation did lead to a breakthrough, it would be in Russian public opinion.

“So far, the war was popular, at least for the majority of the Russian population, up to 80%,” he said. “And now, every Russian family will have to take their own position towards the war, knowing that their loved ones can be sent there and they can be killed there.”

During his trip to Washington, Rau is not meeting any members of the Biden administration, but will see congressional leaders, Sullivan’s predecessor as national security adviser, John Bolton, and will visit a new museum in the US capital dedicated to the victims of communism.

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