TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — British soul singer Joss Stone said Wednesday she was deported from Iran after arriving in the Islamic Republic as part of a worldwide concert tour, even though she didn’t plan to perform there.
Stone posted an Instagram video of herself wearing a white headscarf and saying: “Well, we got to Iran, we got detained and then we got deported.” She said she knew solo performances by women were illegal, but she still wanted to see Iran.
She wrote that Iranian authorities placed her on a “black list” because they believed she might try to perform a public show. She described the authorities that met her on arrival at Iran’s Kish Island as professional throughout their interaction.
“These people are genuinely nice kind people that felt bad that they couldn’t override the system,” she wrote in a caption.
View this post on Instagram
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
Under Iranian law, women cannot perform solo concerts, though women do play in ensemble bands and orchestras. It’s unclear what Stone planned to otherwise do in Iran, though her Instagram post described her desire to show “the positives of our globe.”
Iranian newspapers reported Stone’s Instagram comments on Thursday, though there was no immediate government comment on her claims.
Stone 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 most nationalities.
However, Kish also can be a dangerous place for Westerners. Robert Levinson, a Jewish former FBI agent on an unauthorized mission for the CIA, disappeared on Kish Island in March 2007. He has yet to be found. While Iran denies being involved in his disappearance, his family and the US say Iran’s government holds him.
Stone came 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 also has taken acting roles and is a friend to England’s Prince William and his wife, Kate.