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.
“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 Corea 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.