British soul singer Joss Stone says 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.
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 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.
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.
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. 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.
However, Kish also can be a dangerous place for Westerners. Robert Levinson, a 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 U.S. 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, as well as Prince Harry.