Middle East

Joss Stone deported from Iran on last stop of world tour

Still from video posted by Joss Stone on Instagram on 3 July 2019 Image copyright instagram/@jossstone
Image caption Joss Stone posted a video from the airport on Kish Island

British singer Joss Stone says she was denied entry to Iran - the last country she had to visit as part of a five-year, 200-stop "total world tour".

The 32-year-old posted a video from Kish Island in which she said: "We got detained and then we got deported."

She said that she knew Iran did not allow women to perform solo concerts.

"However, it seems the authorities don't believe we wouldn't be playing a public show, so they have popped us on what they call the 'blacklist'."

"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," she added. "Of course I was gutted. So close yet so far."

Kish Island, which is in the Gulf off the southern Iranian coast, is the only place in Iran that foreigners can visit without needing a visa.

She said immigration officials at the island's airport had encouraged her to go to the Iranian embassy in the UK to "sort it all out and come back".

Iran's state broadcaster, Irib, cited a police statement as saying that Stone did not have the required documentation to enter the country when she arrived on a flight from Oman on 29 June.

The statement denied that the singer was arrested and said she was deported on a flight to the United Arab Emirates the next day "in line with travel regulations".

Earlier this week, Stone posted pictures from what she said was a trip to Yemen, which has been devastated by a four-year civil war.

She said she was given permission to perform before an audience of men and women by the governor of al-Mahra province, which borders Oman and is far from the fighting between Yemeni government forces and the rebel Houthi movement.

The 198th stop on her world tour was Tripoli, Libya, where the UN-backed Libyan government is battling forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar.

Stone set out in 2014 to visit and perform in every country in the world, and to collaborate with local musicians playing indigenous music.

The UN currently has 193 member states and two observer non-member states.

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