Iranian foreign minister testy with Amanpour over women’s rights: ‘This is not the way to conduct an interview’

An interview this week between Iran’s foreign minister and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour went off the rails as Amanpour tried desperately to hold Iran accountable for its mistreatment of women.

Indeed, the interview began with her asking the pointed question, “Do you accept that women can have peaceful demonstrations for change and for their own rights? Do they have the rights — you say it’s the most developed democracy — do women have the right peacefully?”

And right off the bat, the fireworks began.


“Unfortunately, in such issues, their approach is one of double standards. Let me ask you a question,” foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian replied before being cut off.

“I don’t want to get into a discussion. I’m asking you a question,” Amanpour responded.

Ignoring her, Amir-Abdollahian continued, “I want to ask you a question before answering your question. Let’s see where all this started. An Iranian girl called Mahsa Amini, she passed away.”

“Because she was manhandled by the morality police,” Amanpour cut in.

As previously reported, Amini was killed last September after being arrested for allegedly not properly wearing a hijab. Eyewitnesses have said she died from being severely beaten by the police.

Ignoring her, Amir-Abdollahian continued, “Yes, a young girl, Mahsa, passed away. They turned her into a symbol in order to change the system in Iran, in the name of defending women’s freedom.”

“My question is this: Ms. Shireen Abu Akleh, who’s a colleague of yours and is a journalist, she’s a lady, she’s a Christian. And in broad daylight, she was martyred by the Israeli regime. Who defended her?” he added.

Akleh was an Al Jazeera reporter who was killed by Israeli forces while on assignment in the West Bank last May.

“Oh, Mr. Foreign Minister, the whole world, everybody defended her, and everybody condemned her death,” Amanpour responded.

Amir-Abdollahian was unconvinced.

“The result? Why didn’t they allow the issue to be raised in the Security Council?” he asked.

It’s not clear what he was talking about. The U.N. Security Council did, in fact, involve itself in the matter by condemning Akleh’s death and calling for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation.”

“Everybody condemned her death, Mr. Foreign Minister. I’m literally just asking you if in Iran, you believe women have the right to peacefully protest. And, by the way, as you know better than I do, sometimes the morality police are out being aggressive, and sometimes the authorities say ‘just take it easy, alright,'” Amanpour replied.

“And what do we see? Since this presidency, we’ve seen a crackdown on women and their dress and their rights. Why? Why does any regime need to prove itself on the back of women’s rights, their own bodily space. Why?” she continued.

At this point, things got heated once more as Amir-Abdollahian clearly took offense to her line of questioning.

“My request to you: Look, you’re supposed to interview me. But you’re actually having a confrontation with me. And this is not the way to conduct an interview,” he said.

“I just want an answer, is all,” Amanpour claimed in response.

And so Amir-Abdollahian gave her one.

“Women in Iran have all the required freedoms in the framework of the law. Do you ask other countries that are in our region but are allies with the United States the same type of questions that you’re asking me?” he said.

“The issue in Iran at the moment is not hijab. What has hijab got to do with the MEK terrorists? What is this hijab that they are wearing?” he added.

MEK, short for Mojahedin-e-Khalq, or the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, is a terrorist group that advocates for overthrowing the nation’s government.

Responding to Amanpour’s interview of Amir-Abdollahian, Twitter users have been praising the interviewer and slamming the interviewee.


Vivek Saxena


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Latest Articles