Why was British singer Joss Stone 'deported from Iran'?

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By Camille Simonet  with AFP
Why was British singer Joss Stone 'deported from Iran'?

British soul singer Joss Stone said she was deported from Iran after arriving in the Islamic Republic as part of a worldwide concert tour, despite not planning to perform there.

She wrote in an Instagram post that Iranian authorities placed her on a "blacklist” because they believed she might try to perform a public show.

Appearing in a video wearing a white headscarf, she said: "After long discussions with the most friendly charming and welcoming immigration people the decision was made to detain us for the night and to deport us in the morning."

Stone added that she knew solo performances by women were illegal but said she still wanted to see Iran.

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So , our very last country on the list was Iran . We were aware there couldn’t be a public concert as I am a woman and that is illegal in this country. Personally I don’t fancy going to an Iranian prison nor am I trying to change the politics of the countries I visit nor do I wish to put other people in danger. However, it seems the authority’s don’t believe we wouldn’t be playing a public show so they have popped us on what they call the ‘black list ‘ as we found out when we turned up to the immigration hall. After long discussions with the most friendly charming and welcoming immigration people the decision was made to detain us for the night and to deport us in the morning. Of course I was gutted. So close yet so far, this moment broke a little piece of my heart. Then I realised the silver lining was bright. I told them my story and explained my mission, to bring good feeling with what I have to give and show those who want to look, the positives of our globe. All with the understanding that public performance wasn’t an option in this scenario. I still have to walk forward towards that goal some way some how. And of course music is my driver. Doesn’t mean we have to brake any laws though. There is music everywhere. Even here, we just have to play by there rules and they have to believe we will. It’s a trust thing. They were so kind to us, at one point I started to question it. The question whirled around my head, were they just luring is into a false sense of security so we would walk into our jail cells quietly with out a drama? Nope , these people are genuinely nice kind people that felt bad that they couldn’t over ride the system. They didn’t speak English so well so the translator Mohamed, who clearly had a lovely soul conveyed the message that they hoped we would go to embassy to sort it all out and come back, they were refusing us entry with a heavy heart and were so sorry. After Mo had left, the officers kept telling us sorry. They said sorry all the way through this process and kept saying this till we got on the plane they were sending us away on. We were the ones that should have been apologising for not having our correct paper work. The ball

A post shared by Joss Stone (@jossstone) on

“These people are genuinely nice kind people that felt bad that they couldn’t override the system,” she wrote in a caption.

Under Iranian law, women cannot perform solo concerts, though women do play in ensemble bands and orchestras. Stone said in her Instagram that she wanted to show “the positives of our globe.”

Iranian newspapers reported on her Instagram comments on Thursday, though there was no immediate response from the government on her claims.

Stone had earlier posted images of herself boarding a flight to Iran’s Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, which is an economic free zone that allows travel by all nationalities.

The state-run IRNA news agency later quoted police in Kish Island as saying Stone and her companions arrived there from Muscat, Oman, on Saturday, according to AFP.

They said she was denied entry to Iran over the “lack of necessary documents and permits.”

Police did not elaborate, other than to say she was never detained and that she and her companions returned to Oman on Sunday morning, the agency said.


It's not the first time that the soul singer struggled to get to a destination for her shows. In a video posted to Twitter on June 30, Stone used the hashtag #excludenoone to describe her experience in Libya.

"The conversation leading up to Tripoli has been 'you can't go to Tripoli, it's just a no-go area, it's under siege and we must not go there'," she said in the video.

Stone also travelled to Saudi Arabia in June, calling her concert there "the sweetest gig in the world", and played in North Korea in March, in Syria, and in Afganistan as part of her Total World Tour started five years ago.

Stone rose to fame in 2003 as a small-town teenager with a big, soulful voice, showcased on her best-selling debut album “The Soul Sessions” and hit singles including “Fell In Love With A Boy.” She has also tried her hand at acting and is a friend of England’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, as well as Prince Harry.

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