Soul singer Joss Stone says she was ‘detained’ and ‘deported’ by Iranian authorities after they blacklisted her, fearing that she might perform a public show which is illegal for females in the country.
The ‘Soul Sessions’ artist had arrived in the Islamic Republic as part of a worldwide concert tour, though she didn’t plan to perform there.
Posting on Instagram, Stone appears in a video wearing a white headscarf saying: ‘Well, we got to Iran, we got detained and then we got deported.’
She told her fans that while she knew it was illegal to perform, she still wanted to see Iran.
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.
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 all nationalities.
In March this year, Stone performed in Syria for an audience of 70 people, largely made up of a Kurdish militia’s foreign fighters.
Her journeys in these unlikely locations is part of her Total World Tour where she aims to play in every country.
Speaking of performing in Syria, she said: ‘It was very different – we have played 174 countries and that was unique. But I’m really happy to be here.’
She has also visited Saudi Arabia where she ran into criticism from her fans for supporting the decision to wear the Niqab – a full face covering veil worn by some Muslim women.
She told her fans that ‘The women here are strong and exercising their choice to be free, wear what they want and do what they want,’ she wrote on her Instagram.
Her opinions were met with uproar from fans, with one saying: ‘The niqab is not a symbol of a free, powerful woman, it is one of oppression. Western liberal progressives and feminists are falsely portraying it as something beautiful and powerful.’
Stone first 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.’