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Deal Struck on Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program; Winter Storm

Aired November 25, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: A deal after decades of diplomatic dead ends. That`s what we`re going to jump in today on CNN STUDENT NEWS. This particular deal involves Iran`s controversial nuclear program. The program has been a source of international concern for decades. Iran says it only wants to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Other countries believe Iran could use the program to make nuclear weapons. For the past several weeks there have been negotiations between Iran and what`s called the P5+1. They are countries, the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany. There have been ten years of attempted negotiations over Iran`s nuclear program. This is the first time there has ever been an agreement. And it`s not a long lasting one: six months. So, this is more of a preliminary deal. Iran will make some changes to its nuclear program, and in return some of the economic sanctions, punishments that were used against Iran by the international community will ease up.

Some people are critical of this. A Democratic U.S. senator says the deal favors Iran more than other countries. A Republican Senator thinks it sets a bad precedent for other countries. One analyst thinks that this deal can only be considered successful if it leads to a bigger agreement down the road, but he says reaching a deal was extraordinary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Geneva, a historic deal is struck.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: For the first time in nearly a decade we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program. And key parts of the program will be rolled back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Designed to block Iran from ever building a nuclear weapon.

OBAMA: These are substantial limitations, which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran`s most likely path to a bomb.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After weeks of intense talks between Iran and six world powers in Geneva, crippling economic sanctions on Iran will be eased in all about $7 billion in relief. In exchange, Iran agreed to halt enrichment of uranium above five percent, well below weapons grade and to dilute or convert its current stockpile of enriched uranium so it cannot be used for a weapon. Iran also agreed to stop building or operating its Arak heavy water reactor, a second potential path to a bomb. And Iran promised to be more open allowing intrusive daily monitoring of its nuclear program.

In answer to a question from CNN Iran`s foreign minister Javad Zarif said the deal gave Iran what it has long sought, formal recognition of its freedom to a peaceful nuclear program.

(on camera): Some Iranian officials are claiming that right has been recognized. You say the program has been recognized. The White House says there is no formal recognition of a right to enrich. How did you square that circle?

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The current ton of action as we call it in two distinct places has a very clear reference to the fact that Iranian enrichment program will continue and will be a part of any agreement, now and in the future.

(voice over): Israeli`s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, was sharply critical of the deal calling it "a historic mistake"

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Iran is taking only cosmetic steps which it could reverse easily within a few weeks, and in return sanctions that took years to put in place are going to be eased.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Kerry offered these assurances to America`s closest ally in the region.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The next step requires prove certain, a fail/safe set of steps, which eliminate the current prospect of a breakout and a creation of a nuclear weapon.


AZUZ: We`re getting close to Thanksgiving. This is one of the busiest time of the year for travel. AAA estimates that around 43.4 million Americans will fly or drive at least 50 miles away from their homes for the holiday. Something to put a damper on some of those travel plans, the weather. Heavy winter storm is making its way across the country. At least five people have been killed in traffic crashes caused by the storm. Once it gets to the East Coast, this weather system could keep Thanksgiving temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below normal. Forecasters predict it will reach the Atlantic states by tonight or tomorrow. It`s already had an impact on the western half of the U.S.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Already, the west has been hammered by severe weather from icy road conditions in Oklahoma City to flooding in Arizona and California and snow in Nevada. Now, the weather out west has been difficult and dangerous. In California alone, strong winds downed trees and power lines in the San Francisco Bay area. High winds are also being blamed for stocking the wildfire in Napa County. And a man had to be pulled from the fast moving water of the Santa Ana River after a massive downpour in the San Bernardino Valley. Plus, the system is expected to move east just in time for peak Thanksgiving travel.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for "The Shoutout." Which of these organization regulates the U.S. aviation industry? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Is it the FCC, UAW, SEC or FAA? You`ve got three seconds, go!

The FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration oversees the airline industry. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: The FAA is in charge of airport safety. It runs the air traffic control system. It certifies the planes we fly in. One thing it doesn`t do, is decide whether we can use our cell phone on these planes. That`s an FCC, Federal Communications Commission, rule. And it might be about to change. An FCC proposal would allow cell phone calls while the plane is at a certain altitude. This is not a done deal. The commission has to have a final vote, and then individual airlines could decide whether or not to allow it. But you have thoughts on this, and we want to know them. If you`re already on Facebook, you can talk to us at, or if you`re 13 or older, you can share your thoughts on our blog, at

Savannah Day is 14 years old. She lives in Virginia, and she`ll be in Cincinnati, Ohio for Christmas. But not visiting family. She`s going there for brain surgery. Savannah has been thinking about the people she`ll be with in the hospital, the other patients, and what she`s doing for them is why she`s today`s "Character Study."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nerves build and build for Savannah Day, before each cheer competition.

SAVANNAH DAY, PREPARING FOR BRAIN SURGERY: It gets your nerves up, definitely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s focused on the here and now at the Richmond Coliseum, but lingering along is what`s going to happen next month in Cincinnati.

S. DAY: Well, we all know it at cheer practice, and my mom told me that I would have to have brain surgery a few days before Christmas, and I would be in the hospital until the day after Christmas.

MICHELLE DAY, MOTHER: Chiari malformation. It`s basically where the brain has actually grown down into the spinal canal, and it`s actually blocking the spinal fluid from going in and out of the brain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At her final cheer competition before surgery, Savannah is doing more than cheering.

S. DAY: I just think about the toy drive, and all that helps me get through it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These toys the family collected Sunday will be added to a growing pile in Savannah`s basement. Her family has collected more than 1,500 toys since they found out about the surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s crazy, it`s like a toy factory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they will give them all to the more than 500 kids who`ll spend Christmas with them in the Cincinnati Children`s Hospital.

M. DAY: It`s going to be I think amazing, and I think it`s going to be very rewarding. I think Savannah is going to go into surgery on such a high note.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The high note`s Sunday, Savannah`s final performance before the surgery.

After the routine, you can see what it meant to Savannah.

M. DAY: You know, she smiles every day. There`s been very few tears shed at our house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a 14-year-old who thinks of others in one of her toughest moments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Leave it all out on the mat (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This moment will help her push through to December.


AZUZ: A lot of schools are off this week, but we know a few that aren`t, and three of them are in today`s roll call. We`ll start in Erie, Pennsylvania, where the Trojans from McDowell High School are watching us. Staying in the Keystone State with the Elizabeth Forward Warriors from Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. And we`re heading west to catch up with the Wolves from Estrella Foothills High in Goodyear, Arizona.

For our last story today, we`re going deep, like underground deep. This cathedral is more than 300 feet underground, and that is not even the most interesting thing about it. It`s made entirely out of salt. The figures, the altars, the chandeliers, all made from rock salt and salt crystals. It makes sense, since the cathedral was carved out of a salt mine. It took three miners 67 years to do this. Three quarters of a century on one project. It`s just mine over matter. And they probably peppered it in with their other work. It certainly spiced up their days. And the finished product, well, you salt how impressive it was.

Back tomorrow with more puns and more CNN STUDENT NEWS.