British Singer Joss Stone Says She Was Kicked Out of Iran During World Tour: 'I Was Gutted'

Stone has been on a 200-country world tour since 2014 but ran into an issue on the final stop

International Jazz Plaza 2019 Festival, La Habana, Cuba - 18 Jan 2019
Photo: Yander Zamora/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Singer Joss Stone says she ran into trouble in the home stretch of her five-year, 200-stop world tour, which was planned to recently conclude in Iran.

Instead, the 32-year-old British performer shared on Instagram on Wednesday that she was detained when she entered the Iranian island Kish and was subsequently deported from the country without being able to perform.

She explained the situation in an Instagram video and lengthy caption, saying it was apparently due to lack of paperwork on her part.

However, she also noted that she believed she was stopped because Iranian officials thought she would try and give a public performance, which is illegal for women to do.

According to the BBC, citing state media, Iran said Stone lacked the necessary papers to enter the country when she arrived on Saturday, and she was deported to the United Arab Emirates. State officials said she was not arrested, though Stone wrote of being escorted to a “jail cell.”

“They were so kind to us,” she wrote of the officials she dealt with in Iran. “These people are genuinely nice kind people” who “felt bad” they couldn’t give her an exception, she wrote.

“We were the ones that should have been apologising for not having our correct paper work,” she wrote. The officials wanted her to “sort it all out” with the embassy and return, she wrote.

Iranian officials in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A rep for Stone could not be reached.

Stone began her post by noting she would not have tried to give a public performance in the first place.

“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,” the singer wrote.

“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,” she continued. “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 wrote that she felt “gutted” by the decision: “[It] broke a little piece of my heart.”

“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,” she wrote. “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.”

Since 2014, Stone has been on a world tour with the intention of performing in every country.

She even illegally crossed the Syrian border to perform there in March, which she noted was a “scary” experience afterwards.

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“We made it into Syria Kurdistan,” she previously wrote on Instagram. “It was a little scary crossing the border as of course we have absolutely no idea what might transpire, we just have to trust the people on the ground that are advising us and looking after us.”

“This was the beginning, it was cold and wet but also so nice to meet such welcoming kind people,” she added. “Syria deserves not to be ignored. Kurdistan deserves not to be ignored.”

Earlier this week, Stone shared images from Yemen and expressed her gratitude to the country and the governor of the local region who allowed her to perform for both men and women.

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