British soul singer Joss Stone says she was deported from Iran after arriving in the Islamic Republic as part of an ambitious worldwide concert tour, even though she didn't plan to perform there.
Posting on Instagram, Stone, 32, 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 Iranian authorities placed her on a "blacklist" 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.
The former teen sensation has since 2014 embarked on a tour that's taken her to some of the most dangerous places on the planet. Called the "Total World Tour", it has included concerts in Syria and North Korea. The purpose of the tour, according to Stone's website, is to "bring loveliness in a form of music to every country on our planet".
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.
Stone came to fame in 2003 as a small-town 16-year-old 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's released seven albums to date, selling millions of records in the process.
But her fame has come with a dark side: In 2013, two men were jailed for plotting to rob and murder the singer.
The pair were arrested in June 2011 a few kilometres from Stone's home with an array of weapons, including a samurai sword in their car.
Residents near Stone's home had alerted police after the bungling duo stopped to ask for directions. They had also asked a postman for directions, showing him a photograph of the singer.
Notes found in the defendants' possession showed they intended to decapitate the pop star before dumping her body in a river, their trial heard.
The singer, then 25, was at home at the time.
Stone told the trial security had been lax at the house, and she had rarely locked her front door, adding: "But I do now."