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CONNECT THE WORLD
Despite Missing Deadline, U.S.-Iran Continue Talks; Dozens of Yemeni Civilians Killed in Saudi-led Airstrikes According to International Red Cross; Iraqi Troops Liberate Tikrit; Unprecedented Handover of Power in Nigeria as Muhammadu Buhari Unseats Incumbent. Aired 11:00-12:00p ET
Aired April 1, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:08] ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That building, we were told, had a sniper and a suicide bomber in it. And over
here, you see what was Tikrit's governorate (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDA KINKADE, HOST: Inside a shattered city, Arwa Damon gets incredible access to Tikrit where after Tuesday's liberation from ISIS,
celebrations are short-lived and the sobering reality of the devastation sets in.
This hour, we'll show you why there are few winners in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
Also ahead, more talk, but few new (inaudible) ticked as the clocks count down once again in Switzerland. We'll tell you why some big names
have already vacated their chairs around the nuclear talks over Iran.
And a French prosecutor responds to reports that mobile phone footage captured the final moments of flight 9525 before it crashed into the Alps.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.
KINKADE: Hello. Welcome to Connect the World. I'm Lynda Kinkade. But we start with a long awaited victory against ISIS. Iraqi Prime
Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the city of Tikrit north of Baghdad today to personally congratulate Iraqi forces who he says have liberated the city
from ISIS militants.
Iraqi forces are now celebrating their hard fought success. Tikrit had been under the control of the terror group since June. Shiite
militias, Sunni tribesman and the Iraqi army have tried several times to take it back after an initial push stalled a U.S.-led coalition started
airstrikes near the city a few days ago.
And if you were watching CNN earlier, you saw something pretty remarkable. Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon, along with
photojournalist Brice Leeay (ph) and producer Hamdi al-Shali (ph) entered the city right after Iraqi troops.
She told Max Foster what she found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in Tikrit city center, this is the main road that leads through it. The tank behind me
right there is one of those belonging to the Hashd, the popular movement units. You also have Iraqi police.
That building, we were told, had a sniper and a suicide bomber in it.
And over here, you see what was Tikrit's governorate (ph).
Now we were told that this is an example of one of the many buildings that ISIS fighters had booby trapped. Inside here, one of the majors was
telling us, that as one of their officers stepped onto the stairs, they detonated. The stairs themselves had been in lane with explosives. Two
officers were killed in here, three were wounded.
Further down, you can see smoke continuously rising. This is a scene that you see throughout the entire city. That is because, according to what
we are being told, there are so many IEDs, so many bobby trapped homes that in some cases, they cannot be diffused. Forces are being obliged to
detonate them in place. There are some homes that are actually on fire in the distance.
Now moving throughout the city, the devastation, the destruction is pretty widespread. We also were earlier inside the presidential complex.
There, what were Saddam Hussein's palaces, many of them bearing the scars of what seems to have been the aftermath of massive explosions, bombing by
both coalition and the Iraqi Air Force.
Now we are still hearing sporadic bursts of gunfire, explosions in the distance. We're being told that there are small pockets where ISIS fighters
are still holding out, not very large in number, though, at this stage, and the Iraqi security forces most certainly confident that they will
eventually be able to secure the entire city. As you were saying earlier, the prime minister already declaring victory. But given the widespread
devastation, given the costs that just this city alone has already paid in the fight against ISIS, well, this is pretty much what victory at this
stage looks like.
And we've been through quite a few neighborhoods, many of them are completely destroyed. And a lot of the roads that we were not yet able to
access, not yet able to go down not because they were concerned that fighters were there, but because they still didn't know what parts of the
road, what parts of buildings maybe booby trapped.
To give you an example of some of the explosives that ISIS was using. There was a very large vehicle, a digger that ISIS had turned on its side.
And inside it they had packed barrels filled with explosives.
Now those had been defused in place, the wires had been snipped by the Iraqi EOD teams as they were moving through. But they're very worried,
concerned given how many buildings were detonated, we're being told, on top of forces as they were moving into it.
So they're moving forward very carefully at this stage. If there are civilians in other parts of the city, that at this point we do not know.
But for anyone who actually was stuck here and managed to live through it, one can only imagine at this stage how terrifying of an experience it
must have been.
[11:05:23] MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And it would have been terrifying as well realistic, wouldn't it, for the -- for many
Sunnis -- it's a Sunni city, isn't it, this idea of Shia militias coming in to liberate them, because there's a sectarian issue as well
DAMON: There is, Max. And that is why as significant as the military operation to retake Tikrit is -- what happens, politically speaking,
because of those sensitivities, is just as important.
This battle to retake Tikrit had been dubbed early on revenge for the spiker (ph) massacre. When ISIS first swept through the city back over the
summer, they killed hundreds, if not upwards of 1,500 Shia recruits. And there were widespread concerns that it's predominately Shia force moving
through here, not necessarily the Iraqi security forces themselves per se, but these popular mobilization units, the PMUs that are, yes, largely made
up of these Iranian backed Shia militias and volunteers would carry out revenge reprisal attacks, that there would be something of a scorched Earth
policy when the forces, this predominately Shia force, did retake the city.
That so far we have not yet seen evidence of that. That does not mean it is not happening. We did earlier going through one of the neighborhoods
see a group of PMUs holding up the severed head of what they said was an ISIS fighter and then afterwards speaking to one of the Iraqi federal
police officers he said, look, we can't control everybody.
So there is a dimension of that, that is happening. There are concerns about the potential for revenge reprisal attacks. There are
concerns about the sectarian dimension in all of this, because those tensions are historic. They do exist. And they are very real.
But at least when it comes to the federal police units that we're with, they're very sensitive when it comes to this particular fact. And
they are very aware that it's not just about the military victory here, it's also about what happens afterwards. What kind of a force is left
behind to actually secure this territory. And what is it going to mean, yes, for those mostly Sunni families that are going to be coming back to
the city trying to rebuild their shattered lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: A self-imposed deadline has come and gone, but Iran and world powers are still trying to thresh out a framework agreement on Iran's
UN Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have now gone into bilateral talks in Lausanne, Switzerland.
They have so far been unable to resolve a number of core issues.
France's foreign minister Laurent Fabius says he and his Russian and Chinese counterparts have left the talks for the time being.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURENT FABIUS, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We've made progress, but not on all points. And so I left my political director
there. I'm maintaining contact with him. And as soon as necessary, I'll return there.
My Russian colleague and my Chinese colleague have left. My American and Iranian colleagues remain along with two other colleagues, but the
president and I thought it was important to have an update on the situation at the cabinet meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Now Hala Gorani is in Lausanne where talks have gone into overtime.
And Hala, despite the extension, many of the foreign ministers have already left.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, as you mentioned there the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has left. There are
unconfirmed reports he may be on his way back. That's not something we've been able to confirm with his team at this stage, although when we do have
confirmation of this type of news that the foreign minister of France is on his way back.
It is -- it would be likely at that point to assume that something is shaping up here in Lausanne.
Importantly, though, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterparty Mohamed Javad Zarif meeting several times today. The
meetings breaking and giving the delegations enough time for a lunch. We understand they're meeting once again now. And the question is going to be
going forward on this day will there be some sort of an announcement that lays out a framework of understanding for a more permanent agreement at the
end of the month of June.
There are sticking points. We understand those sticking points are about the pace of the lifting of sanctions against Iran. Iran wants them
all lifted at once. Is it softening its position. That's going to be the big question.
The other outstanding question as far as Iran is concerned is how much nuclear research and development will this deal allow it to conduct inside
of Iran? A very long deal that could stretch up to 15 years into the future. And so Iran wants to make sure from its point of view that it's
able to conduct the kind of R&D that would allow it to maintain a nuclear program. Western countries are saying we want to make sure that Iran
cannot develop a weapon.
We're all in a pretty much a holding pattern here. I've asked the U.S. secretary of state as he walked past me will there be a deal this
evening. No answer. Just a smile. As far as the German delegation is still here. When we asked will there be a deal this evening. The answer
was that's a good question -- Lynda.
[11:10:25] KINKADE: A very good question.
Officials that have linked, you know, comments to some of the media seem to be saying that the framework deal as it stands has been watered
down and is incomplete.
How crucial is it for the U.S. to push a deal through?
GORANI: Well, you have to understand that the delegation here is doing the work of President Obama, possibly his most crucial foreign policy
initiative, and that is to find a diplomatic deal with Iran over its nuclear program.
But faces a lot of opposition at home.
If the Secretary of State goes back to Washington with something that looks either flimsy or incomplete, or just a press release, it will give
ammunition to those who oppose the deal in Washington. So it's extremely important for the Americans in particular. Those, after all, who imposed
this self-imposed -- who imposed this deadline of March 31 on the talks, to come back with something tangible. So it's very important.
That's why, and you can see here the political will coming from the U.S. delegation and the Secretary of State, there is a real effort being
made to come up with something after seven days of marathon talks here in Lausanne, Lynda.
KINKADE: And it could be a few more days to come. Hala Gorani in Lausanne, thank you very much.
And coming up this hour, we're covering all the angles surrounding the nuclear talks. President Marashi from the National Iranian-American
Council is in Lausanne and keeping a very close eye on those developments as well. He'll join me for a closer look at what a deal could mean for all
Also, how does oil fit into the economic equation? Emerging Markets editor John Defterios will have that angle.
And we'll go to Jerusalem where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to warn of disastrous consequences if a deal is sealed.
French officials are denying reports that cell phone video has been recovered showing the final moments of Germanwings flight 9525. Two
publications, Paris Match (Ph) and Bild, say the phone's data was found at the wreckage site by a source close to the investigation.
When asked whether the video could have been leaked, French officials flat out sad no.
Meanwhile, the CEOs of Germanwings and its parent company Luftansa visited a memorial near the cash site. The head of Luftansa promised to
help the victim's families for as long as they need.
Our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen has been following the latest on the investigation into the crash.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A chilling discovery purportedly pulled from the wreckage of
Germanwings Flight 9525. Cell phone video shot from inside the cabin purportedly captures the chaos and horror of the final moments before the
crash. French magazine Paris Match and German newspaper Bild say they've seen the video recovered from a memory card by an investigator, though a
French official says the reports are, quote, "completely wrong and unwarranted." The publications say from watching the video, it's
disturbingly clear the passengers knew what was about to happen.
JULIAN REICHELT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BILD ONLINE: It's very shaky. It's very chaotic. But there are some things that are very much in line with
what we know about the investigation so far.
PLEITGEN: According to Bild and Paris Match, as the plane descends, screams can be heard with cries of "my God" in several languages. Metallic
bangs can be heard more than three times, which they believe is the captain trying to break his way back into the cockpit with a heavy object.
Towards the end, a heavy shake, reports say, as the cabin abruptly jerks, presumably as the plane's right wing scrapes a mountain. The screams
intensify, then silence.
Lufthansa's CEO, visiting the crash site this morning, to pay his respects. This just a day after the stunning revelation that Lufthansa knew
Andreas Lubitz had a history of psychological problems before he deliberately crashed the jet. In 2009, Lubitz told his flight training
school he suffered from, quote, "a previous episode of severe depression."
JIM PHILLIPS, GERMAN PILOTS ASSOCIATION: If they withheld information intentionally, that's not good.
PLEITGEN: Lufthansa says Lubitz provided that information in medical documents he submitted to resume flight training. After taking a break for
several months, he was cleared to fly shortly after.
CARSTEN SPOHR, CEO, LUFTHANSA AIRLINES: All the safety nets we are so proud of here have not worked in this case.
[11:15:00] PLEITGEN: Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Cologne, Germany.
KINKADE: Still to come tonight, Nigeria's democracy is put to the test and it passes. The new leader has been elected, and it looks like the
old one will go quietly.
And what's at stake in Lausanne as Iran's nuclear talks go past what has been billed as a deadline. We'll take a deeper look next.
KINKADE: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.
Negotiations are still ongoing and the question remains deal or no deal? There's still some optimism that Iran and world powers could reach a
framework agreement on Tehran's nuclear program. Talks continue in Lausanne a day after a self-imposed deadline came and went.
British foreign secretary Philip Hammond says significant progress is being made, but there are some sticking points.
Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and a deal to curb it should mean relief from economic sanctions. The pace
at which those sanctions will be lifted is believed to be one of the key issues causing disagreement.
For more on this, I'm joined now by Reza Marashi. He is the research director at the national Iranian-American Council. And he joins me now
from just out near the talks in Lausanne.
Now firstly, the supreme leader of Iran said that no deal is better than a bad deal. With the talks extended, what's the feeling in Iran?
REZA MARASHI, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL IRANIAN-AMERICAN COUNCIL: I think the feeling in Iran, at least from what I've been able to gather, is that
talks are in fact making enough progress to warrant the continuation of negotiations and that's why we've seen the deadline, the self-imposed
American deadline, get pushed back once or twice.
Negotiators have been really burning the midnight oil in an effort to reach this framework understand that can serve as a bridge between the end
of March and the end of June when a comprehensive nuclear deal is hopefully going to be reached by both sides. That's their deadline.
KINKADE: The U.S. of course does not want to extend these negotiations, even though that's what's happening. Can you tell us what
are the things that Iran will not negotiate on? What are the key points?
MARASHI: Well, red lines become flexible lines, otherwise there's nothing to negotiate over. But I think the issues that Iran is driving a
hard bargain on is two-fold.
One are UN security council resolutions. There have been six security council resolutions passed on Iran that put various kind of sanctions on
them. Iran wants all of those security council resolutions terminated.
The second aspect is the research and development of the various technical aspects of Iran's nuclear program. Iran feels that under any
deal that's signed, whether it's 10 years, 15 years, whatever it might be. They should be able to gradually progress how much research and development
they do over the duration of the deal while the P5+1 would like Iran's nuclear program to more or less remain frozen in time over the duration of
[11:20:11] KINKADE: Now Israeli's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been one of the most outspoken critics of this deal. He's worried that
Iran will wipe Israel off the map. He spoke earlier about what he thinks would make a good deal. Let's just take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: A better deal would significantly roll back Iran's nuclear infrastructure. A better deal would
link the eventual lifting of the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to a change in Iran's behavior. Iran must stop its aggression in the region,
stop its terrorism throughout the world and stop its threats to annihilate Israel. That should be non-negotiable. And that's the deal that the world
powers must insist upon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: So, Reza, is Mr. Netanyahu suggesting anything new?
MARASHI: No. I think for the better part of 20 years, Mr. Netanyahu has been insisting upon terms that would at least somewhat resemble what he
just outlined in the soundbite we heard.
The reality of the situation, however, is that every single member of the P5+1 countries, the permanent members of the UN security council plus
Germany has very openly over the past few weeks called Prime Minister Netanyahu's expectations unreasonable.
If those terms were attainable, America and its allies would seek to achieve those terms. But they haven't been attainable for quite some time,
though its very telling that the Israeli prime minister is pushing those kinds of terms. And I think it speaks volumes about the fact that he
doesn't want a good deal, he doesn't want any deal at all.
KINKADE: And now Iran has said that the U.S. imposed -- and the UN sanctions are illegal under international law. If no deal goes through, is
Iran worried about the fact they could face more sanctions? And what sort of impact are the current sanctions having?
MARASHI: Well, the sanctions question is a good one, and that's why both sides -- the P5+1 and Iran -- have lawyers here to try to parse
through the various issues -- different legal interpretation can make the situation murky.
But the reality of the situation here is, is that Iran is saying that if it takes irreversible steps that put limitations on its nuclear program,
it wants the P5+1 countries to take irreversible steps as it pertains to sanctions relief. Because American sanctions cannot be terminated, because
congress will not pass legislation to do so. That only leaves EU sanctions from the Europeans and UN security council resolution sanctions. And the
P5+1 is reticent to give up the UN sanctions because they feel that it would be very hard to get a UN security council resolution on Iran in the
KINKADE; We really appreciate your perspective today. Reza Marashi, thank you very much for joining us.
And we continue our discussion of Iran's nuclear deal online at CNN.com. If a framework is agreed upon, how will it change conditions in
the Middle East? We look at the possibilities for you in our five things you need to know about the talks that's at CNN.com.
Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, another blunt warning on Iran from the Israeli prime minister and his words are
being echoed by a VIP visiting from Washington.
But first, we're getting comfortable in Rwanda in this weeks African Start-up.
[11:25:14] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Rwanda's growing economy, one industry that's becoming lucrative is fashion. And here in the city of
Kagale, Gloria Wazara is capitalizing on that trend. She launched a company that specializes in using batik cloth in its designs.
GLORIA WAZARA, FASHION DESIGNER: (inaudible) is a textile design house and a clothing house. It's something that I realized in Rwanda, which is
not found so easily. I tried to kind of go with the trend colors. And I tried to see what people may like or may not like. And I tried to bring
(inaudible) simplicity on the clothing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wazara learned about the teak in Dakar, Senegal. After returning to Rwanda, she established her company in 2008. She also
wanted to do something to support people who had been forgotten after the 1994 genocide.
WAZARA: I said, why can't I approach these young people maybe have low education and give them an opportunity and teach them how to do this
What we are doing now, we are printing the image on the fabric. So what we had first of all to do is create the pattern and have it done in
stencil. And now we are printing it with wax. And when this will be done, we'll have it soaked in the die.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wazara shares a showroom with other designers because she's unable to afford to have her own. And there are other
WAZARA: I really had the challenge of finding the raw materials. I realized that people didn't know much about what they sell, like the
fabrics they have. They don't really know how to differentiate cotton and another type of cotton. I really wanted specific products. So for me to
get it, I would have to get it abroad.
This is one of our pillow covers. What we did was to create a pattern. We got inspired from the running design, so we tried to make it
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A unique product in a growing economy. Wazara has high hopes for the future.ms012050
WAZARA: We see grow creation being a factory. That's one of my dreams. And a factory that will be producing African textile made in
Rwanda. So we really want to show much of our tradition, much of our culture. It's a way of communicating. But on the other side, we really
want to work with the community, providing jobs by creating a new type of work, things they've never seen.
[1130:31] KINKADE: This is Connect the World. And these are the top stories this hour.
New images show Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visiting the center of Tikrit where he congratulated Iraqi security forces. H esays the
city has been liberated from the Sunni extremist group ISIS. But the country's interior minister says pockets of resistance remain.
Talks around disputed nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland have gone well past the deadline. And there's word of significant progress.
The U.S. and Iran went into bilateral talks earlier today. And the British foreign secretary says there's hope for a framework agreement by the end of
French officials are denying reports that cellphone video was recovered from the crash site of Germanwings flight 9525. Two publications
claim the video shows the moments before the plane crash. Earlier, the CEOs of Germanwings and its parent company Luftansa visited a memorial site
near the crash.
Nigeria's new president-elect is promising to step up the fight against Boko Haram. Muhammadu Buhari gave a speech a short time ago and
said the terror group will soon know the nation's collective will to defeat it. Buhari also offered words of reassurance for those concerned about a
peaceful transition of power in Nigeria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP
MUHAMMADU BUHARI, NIGERIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT: I extend a hand of friendship and conciliation for Goodluck Jonathan and his team.
I hereby wish to state that I have no ill-will against anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: This marks the first time that the opposition in Nigeria has defeated the ruling party in democratic elections. CNN's Christian Purefoy
has more on this watershed moment for the country.
CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nigerians watch as the results from their presidential election were announced. And then
something historic happened, opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari beat incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, and is a transfer of power never
witnessed in the history of Nigeria.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is true democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want a good government. We want (inaudible), want to be happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the unity in the country is very, very high. The spirit is high for everything to change. Somebody has been there for
six years, no change. We want to try another person.
PUREFOY: Nigeria is Africa's largest democracy. And after decades of military rule and aborted attempts at democracy, there were fears that
neither side would accept defeat and the vote would turn violent. And then Jonathan phoned Buhari to congratulate him on his victory and democracy
takes hold in Nigeria.
KINKADE: CNN's Christian Purefoy reporting there. And he's on the line with us now from Abuja. And Christian, the worry was with this
election that it was going to be too close to call and that instability could threaten peace and progress, yet Buhari won convincingly. Clearly,
everyone is happy.
What does this mean for the country going forward?
PUREFOY: Well, as you said, Lynda, the worries were that no one was going to accept defeat. And actually the complete opposite has happened.
And as you just heard in Buhari's speech, he was talking about reconciliation and president Jonathan calling him to concede defeat. It's
all absolutely unprecedented. And moving forward, Lynda, this is -- you know, first of all you can't get enough for those speeches about
reconciliation in a country that really has so many divisions in the past.
You know you talk about Boko Haram, you talk about religious violence, you talk about militancy and so many other issues here. And all of these
things, of course, are what prompted so many people to vote for General Buhari, because they want a strong man to try and come in -- you know, he
is a general. He's considered anti-corrupt. They want him to come in and try and solve some of these problems. And -- Lynda.
KINKADE: And there's no doubt he will face a lot of challenges. Corruption is always an issue there. And now the collapse of oil prices.
What can Buhari do to combat that problem?
PUREFOY: Yes, the real -- you know, when Buhari gets into power. And it's going to be another two months. He's going to be sworn in on the 29th
of May. There's going to be enormous challenges. Some of those divisions I talked where all of those divisions I talked about. But, yes, you say
the economy, Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, but the price of oil is crashing. You've got poverty, you know, extraordinary rates.
Unemployment at extraordinary percentages.
The problems are just mammoth.
And we were actually just speaking to one of the main APC players, actually, up here in Abuja and you know they're very concerned about what
they're actually going to face when they get into power.
But in some ways that is already a good step that their concern, they're already making plans. And they hope -- and the hope is for
everyone is that this sort of unprecedented election, Lynda, will give them the political momentum, even if the -- you know the economy is down and
there are divisions. This political legitimacy of this election will give them the power to try and tackle some of these issues head on -- Lynda.
[11:35:46] KINKADE: Yeah, a lot of challenges ahead.ms012050
Christian Purefoy, thank you very much for that update.
And this programming note, in his first interview since winning the election, Muhammadu Buhari speaking to our chief international
correspondent Christiane Amanpour. He'll hear about the challenges Nigeria faces and what his priorities will be. That's exclusively on Amanpour.
Coming up at 7:00 p.m. in London and Abuja 8:00 p.m. Central European Time only on CNN.
And Boko Haram is not the only concern facing the new Nigerian president. Low oil prices, as we mentioned, will also be on Muhammadu
Buhari's mind as he takes over the resource rich nation. The ongoing talks in Lausanne could have a significant impact on oil prices. An agreement
and a possible lifting of economic sanctions would unlock Iran's huge economic potential.
I'm joined now by our Emerging Markets editor John Defterios in Abu Dhabi. And John, everyone is watching the nuclear talks very closely, many
hoping that a deal would allow Iranian crew to flow into the market.
How exactly is the extension of talks impacting oil prices?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lynda, if we had this conversation last week, it would have been the theme around Yemen
and the security concerns driving prices higher, in fact considerably higher. Right now, the markets reflecting the fact that a deal with Iran
perhaps is imminent. It's good to remember that right now into the sanctions that Iran can only export a million barrels a day.
If a deal comes through, that could change radically. Let's take a look.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: The intense discussions that have unfolded in Lausanne have undermined what was only a tepid price
recovery since the start of 2015. The mere prospect of having sanctions lifted on Iran's oil exports has capped any gains prompted by Middle East
security concerns, especially in Yemen.
Iran's petroleum minister is ambitious, wanting to increase exports by 1 million barrels a day within three to four months.
ROBIN MILLS, ENERGY STRATEGIST MANAAR ENERGY: We think that Iran could add something like another 800,000 barrels a day to the market
within, let's say six to nine months, and it could release also oil from storage within a period of one to three months after sanctions eased. And
that obviously in an oversupplied market is going to push prices even lower.
DEFTERIOS: Iran's potential reemergence could not come at a worse time for energy producers. The big three global players in the world today
have not trimmed their sales despite falling prices.
OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia is producing close to 10 million barrels a day, Russia is nearly at the same rate, focusing on new Asian customers
and the United States has so much oil it is nearly out of storage capacity.
Iran, if could open the door wide open to investment could move up the lead table of the energy giants around the world. After a few years of
very tight sanctions on the oil and banking sectors, the country is starved for cash and the technology know-how of the European and U.S. oil
MILLS: It's a country in its oil and gas sector very much needs an injection of new technology and it'll need an injection of capital as well,
because obviously the financial situation of Iran has been badly affected by sanctions.
DEFTERIOS: But Iran could be a sizable force. It has the fourth largest oil reserves at 157 billion barrels, 18 percent have proven gas
reserves and just four years ago was producing 4.3 million barrels a day.
CORNELIA MEYER, CEO, MRL CORPORATION: It could be a huge player. It could be in gas. It could be as big as Qatar in oil. It can be a truly
second place in OPEC.
If Iran comes on now and can get the right investment, it can become a very, very strong player in OPEC indeed.
DEFTERIOS: And medium-term with Iran and Iraq more closely aligned politically with combined proven reserves larger than Saudi Arabia, it
could challenge the supremacy of the kingdom in oil.
DEFTERIOS: And let's not forget with the Saudis now mounting troops on the border of Yemen because of what's taking place there and the
airstrikes as well, with Iranian support for the Houthis, this is where Iran's rise in the global economy gets very complicated and has people here
quite nervous about how fast it can rise if it's allowed to produce oil to 4 to 5 million barrels a day in the next few years, Lynda.
[11:40:01] KINKADE: No doubt.
But I mean, should the talks fail, are there any contingencies in place if the talks fall through?
DEFTERIOS: I would say there is no plan B right now. And we have, let's not forget, a timeline until the end of June. Now there's a few
things to look out for near-term.
First and foremost, would Iran be allowed to export as much oil as it wants to? It's capped right out a million barrels a day prior to the
sanctions it was 2.5 million barrels a day and had its production of 4.3 million barrels a day. It wants to target five by the end of the decade.
Number two, the banking sanctions right now really limit Iran's economy from growing. First and foremost, they're shut out of the SWIFT
global transaction package because of the European Union and U.S. sanctions. Will they be lifted entirely? And also weather the sanctions
will be phased out or lifted right away? There's a trust factor here. The Iranians want the sanctions lifted right away. The IAEA and the P5+1 want
to be able to monitor Iran going forward.
And finally, and this is another wild card here, will the U.S. Congress continue to introduce new legislation -- there's a bill coming up
in mid-April that would handcuff the White House, how far they can go with Iran. And they were even seen, the Senate majority leader suggesting a new
bill that would put additional sanctions on Iran if a deal is not struck to the U.S. liking by the end of June as well.
So it's much more complex than we see in Lausanne in the last hours of those negotiations -- Lynda.
KINKADE: Yes. Sanctions are a huge key sticking point.
John Defterios, thank you very much.
And throughout these Iran talks, we've heard one warning after another from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He gave a big speech to
the U.S. congress last month where he said the deal being discussed is dangerous for the world and Israel in particular.
The Republican who invited Mr. Netanyahu to Washington is visiting the Middle East and was in Jerusalem today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) OHIO: Our delegation is -- spent the last five days throughout the Middle East. And regardless of where in the Middle
East we've been, the message has been the same. You can't continue your eye away from the threats that face all of us.
NETANYAHU: The concessions offered to Iran in Lausanne would ensure a bad deal that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and the peace of the
world. Now is the time for the international community to insist on a better deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: CNN's Oren Lieberman joins us now from Jerusalem for more on that.
And Oren, Netanyahu has been a fierce critic of the nuclear deal. He's worried that a bad deal could wipe Israel off the map. He's not at
all pleased with the deal, nor is he pleased with the extension of the talks, is he?
OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, he's been pushing against this deal since day one. And we've seen him every day the last few days
and very much so over the last few weeks and even months lobbying against this deal.
He has realized at this point that he can't prevent a deal, he can't stop a deal, that's outside of his power. So he's been lobbying against
specific points on this deal. We've heard him say a lot over the last few days, especially, talking about a better deal and that's where he wants to
see a deal that more limits Iran, limits their infrastructure and limits the number of centrifuges they will have, stops them from doing any
underground research or have any underground facilities. And that's been his focus over the last few days, and especially today with House Speaker
Boehner in town.
KINKADE: Oh, that's right. I was just going to ask you about with John Boehner in town, a very strong critic of the White House's policy on
Iran, spoke to reporters, but he didn't mention the nuclear talks, which is quite interesting.
LIEBERMAN: Interesting was the word we used as well. We also thought it was very interesting, his words chosen there very carefully.
He didn't mention Iran explicitly. He did say, though, he's been traveling through the Middle East the last few days. And he talked about,
quote, "the threats that face all of us." So possibly there referencing Iran without saying it explicitly.
Boehner knows that his presence here simply makes this a high profile opportunity for Netanyahu to speak. And in that joint statement when the
two of them spoke, Netanyahu also didn't mention Iran or Switzerland.
The soundbyte we heard just a few moments ago was actually from an hour earlier when he spoke alone. So it was Netanyahu also choosing his
words very carefully.
But make no mistake, Lynda, both of these are very, very strong critics of the deal that's being put together that they're working on in
KINKADE: Very interesting times there where you are. Oren Lieberman, thank you very much. Good to talk to you as always.
Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, what would an Iran nuclear deal mean for the Iranian business community? We put
that question to long-time traders who are watching developments closely. That's in 10 minutes.
But first, the UN says Saudi-led attacks on rebels in Yemen have killed dozens of civilians in the last weeks, including at least 62
children. We'll get an update from the Red Cross there live in Sanaa next.
[11:47:14] KINKADE: A dairy factory on fire, these pictures show what is thought to be one of the worst cases of civilian deaths in the week's
long attack on Yemen's rebels. Medical workers told Reuters News Agency at least 25 people died in the attack. An alliance of many Arab states, led
by Saudi Arabia, have been carrying out airstrikes for a week now. The coalition says they are targeting military sites and trying to avoid,
quote, collateral damage. The United Nations said on Tuesday at least 93 civilians have been killed so far, and that figure does not include victims
of last night's attacks.
At least 62 children are reported to be among the dead.
And even before this conflict, Yemen was very dependent on foreign aid. Now the UN has warned of major humanitarian crisis in Yemen within
months. Oxfam estimates that 60 percent of the population is in need of food, clean water and basic services.
Hunger, in particular, is a big issue. The world food program says 10 million people are not getting enough food, that's more than 40 percent of
In northern Yemen's Sanaa Province, a rebel stronghold, 40 percent of people are severely food insecure. This is the worst affected part of the
Mary Claire Feghahli is the spokeswoman for the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent in Sanaa. She joins us now on the phone from
the Yemeni capital.
And the United Nations chief has said that Yemen is on the brink of collapse. Can you paint a picture for us of the situation on the ground,
the civilians affected by street fighting and the airstrikes?
MARIE CLAIRE FEGHAHLI, SPOKESWOMAN, ICRC: Yes, the airstrikes have been ongoing now for the seventh night in a row. And we have more and more
reports on civilian casualties, but also displacement. When it comes to the figures of the injured and the deaths, the situation is extremely fluid
today. And we cannot establish dependency the number of the casualties. But what we know -- and this is something that we call for yesterday, is
that we need more medical delivery to the brought into the country very quickly so that we can distribute those to the hospitals that need to cope
very quickly as well with the need that they have in terms of treatment of the wounded.
KINKADE: I've read that hospitals overflying, some have been bombed. And the hunger crisis is escalating. And with few breaks in fighting, it
must be difficult for people who even want to flee the country.
FEGHAHLI: As far as this is concerned, as I mentioned we have reports of people being displaced. We have also heard that there are people
stranded in other countries, but this is not something that we can talk about.
What I can mention is that the humanitarian situation is difficult now. It's more difficult in the areas where there are fighting in addition
in addition to the airstrikes and the ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross is trying its best to help those involved to cope with the
[11:50:07] KINKADE: What challenges are you finding trying to get aid to the people who need it most?
FEGHAHLI: Well, the first challenge is that we need the medical shipment that we requested to arrive to Sanaa soon. We need to be able to
send those medical supplies to the hospitals and we also need that all the medical missions, the volunteers, they (inaudible) volunteers and everyone
who is working the relief of these wounded to be protected. They are protected by the international humanitarian law. They should be protected
by all those who are fighting be it on the soil or from the air.
KINKADE: And how are you helping the children who are affected by this?
FEGHAHLI: In terms of assistance, what we are doing now, the first response that we have is a medical response. And that includes order
civilians be it children, women, non-combatants and even those who stop combating.
The first response that the Red Cross is having is a medical response. We are now looking to see -- to have more information on what the
displacement has caused for the population. And we will be responding to that quite soon.
KINKADE: There are always concerns that corruption will see aid fall into the wrong hands. Do you share those concerns? And is there any way
you can tackle that problem?
FEGHAHLI: Look, as far as the ICRC is concerned, what we do is actually go and talk to the population immediately, the population in need.
And when we want to provide the assistance, we do it ourselves. We go -- we have ICRC teams that go and talk immediately to the population. We have
the proximity with the people and when it comes to that, it's not something that the ICRC can comment on, because the way we work is that we go and we
deliver the assistance ourselves.
KINKADE: OK. Marie Clarie Feghahli, thank you very much for joining us. That update. We appreciate your time.
Live from the CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, nuclear talks in Lausanne are a world away from Dubai's (inaudible), but
Iranian traders there could be directly affected by those talks. What it means to their bottom line when we come back.
KINKADE: We're keeping a close eye on developments out of Lausanne, Switzerland where those Iran nuclear talks are underway. A deal could lift
significant obstacles for Iranian businesses around the world.
In tonight's parting shots, our Amir Daftari talks to Iranian traders in Dubai about what a deal could mean for them.
AMIR Daftari, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A walk around Dubai's old creek (ph) is like taking a step back in time. Despite the heat from the midday sun,
all the labor here is done by hand.
Workers load cargo onto traditional Dows. Everything from TVs and textiles to refrigerators and rods ready to be shipped 150 kilometers
across the Gulf to Iran.
Dubai has always been a major trading partner with the Islamic Republic. And these old boats play an important role in that relationship.
We were invited for a rare look on board. This Dow has been shipping goods back and forth for 20 years. The six man crew all eat, live, sleep
and even wash here. The vessel and the cargo it carries is their entire world and 1,000 miles away from negotiations over the Iranian nuclear
So when I ask Puria (ph), the youngest crew member, how international sanctions on Iran are impacting his livelihood, his answer is simple.
"Things have become harder," he says. "It's harder to get hold of goods. There are fewer buyers. And Iran's currency doesn't have the value
it once had."
But what is a nuclear deal is done and sanctions are finally lifted, I ask?
"Until now, things have only been getting harder," he insists. "Things may improve. All we can do is wait and see what happens."
But no matter how hard the situation gets, for Puria (ph) and everybody else on board, work doesn't stop, because for the merchants on
Dubai's creek, the everyday reality is far removed from diplomatic discussions in five star hotels. Here, they're down to just the basic
necessities of life.
(inaudible) the crew insists we join them at the captain's table for something to eat.
But the talk here is not of nuclear ambitions or uranium enrichment, on this old Dow they tell me they just want stability amid the choppy
waters of international politics.
Amir Daftari, CNN, Dubai.
[11:56:46] KINKADE: And we want to hear your thoughts on all the stories we've covered this hour. Have your say at Facebook.com/CNNConnect.
And you can tweet me @LyndaKinkade.
Well, I'm Lynda Kinkade and that was Connect the World. Thanks for joining us.