Anger over the death of an Iranian woman who was detained by the morality police has morphed into widespread dissent against Iran’s hard-line Islamist regime. Clashes between protesters and Iranian security forces grow more heated each day. Women cut their hair and remove their hijabs in public, defying the country’s strict dress code.

On Wednesday, President Ebrahim Raisi was due to face questions about the deadly protests in a sit-down with CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour. But he abandoned the interview, Amanpour said, after she declined to wear a headscarf.

Raisi, a hard-line conservative who was elected president in June 2021, was in New York City for the UN General Assembly, where he criticized “the double standards of some governments regarding human rights” in a speech earlier that day. He had scheduled an interview with Amanpour in the evening, his first ever on US soil, the anchor said in a Twitter thread.

Forty minutes after the interview was supposed to begin, Amanpour said that his aide asked her to wear a headscarf, and she “politely declined.”

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