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CONNECT THE WORLD
FIFA Set to Vote for New President; Interview with Qatar's Energy Minister; Cloud Seeding in the UAE; Can Syria's Cessation of Violence Lead to Political Solution? Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET
Aired February 25, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:10] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A region at a tipping point. And a cease-fire in Syria end half a decade of bloodshed. Will it even hold?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not be surprised if this is a situation and we even across the 50 dollar per barrel.
ANDERSON: Can a volatile oil market be stabilized? In an exclusive interview, Qatar's energy minister and president of OPEC predicts the
return of $50 a barrel oil.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (through translator): It's unclear what will happen because the Iranians only make up their minds in
the last minute, he says.
ANDERSON: And historic elections in Iran. What they mean for the country and its neighbors.
Hello and welcome to what is a special edition of Connect the World with me Becky Anderson live tonight from Doha, the capital of Qatar, a country that
is right in the middle of this region's biggest stories politically, economically and geographically.
Qatar has been involved in talks to work out a cease-fire in Syria as well as indirectly in the fighting itself. Even as plummeting oil prices strain
this entire region, Qatar also in the middle of an intense regional rivalry.
As you can see, Iran just to our east and Saudi Arabia is right next door to the west.
You will know that Saudi Arabia has been flexing its military might leading airstrikes like these in Yemen against Iranian-backed rebels, that is
despite the king really feeling the pinch of those falling oil prices that were only sent lower by Iran's emergence -- reemergence on to global
Now, pivotal elections there just a day away. They will decide the future direction of Iran after the lifting of sanctions following the nuclear deal
with the west.
Setting you up tonight CNN on every side of these stories for you.
Fred Pleitgen is in the Iranian capital: Tehran. Nic Robertson standing by in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia this hour for you and Nick Paton Walsh is in
Beirut, a city on the front line of Syria's war in more ways than one.
Fred, I want to come to you first. These parliamentary elections are crucial. Remind us why.
PLEITGEN: Well, they are crucial for two reasons. On the one hand, the parliamentary elections themselves, of course, are very, very important
here in Iran because they could determine whether Iran will continue to open up towards the west, whether or not they will continue to welcome
foreign investment or whether or not that process is at least slowed down.
Then of course there's a second part to these elections because the council of experts is also going to be elected, which is the body that votes for
Iran's supreme leader who of course has the final say in any sort of decisions here in
We have been on the streets here in Tehran over the past couple days. We have seen the campaigning. Here's what we found.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Campaigning Iranian-style. Volunteers for the reform movement hand out flyers in Tehran's traffic. They say they're confident,
but not certain they will win.
"It's unclear what will happen because the Iranians only make up their minds in the last minute, he says. But the moderates' position is much
better than that of the conservatives."
Tehran is plastered with election posters, as the fierce battle with the conservatives around the powerful clergy unfolds.
(on camera): Many observers view the elections as extremely important and also, as a referendum on Hassan Rouhani's policies of opening Iran up to
(voice-over): The divisions were exacerbated by the recent nuclear agreement, designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in
return for sanctions relief.
"We support the Rouhani government and the nuclear deal," this reformist says. "We should have a parliament to support and not block Rouhani's
But many conservatives view that as a threat.
PLEITGEN: "Death to America," they chant, at this hardliner rally. They believe Iran has opened itself to American infiltration with the nuclear
"Consider the nuclear deal to be American interference," she says. "And we will fight against it and hopefully defeat it. Our nation will not allow
America to influence our affairs."
The decisions Iranian voters make this Friday could do more than alter the makeup of parliament. They could influence the country's course toward the
West, and some believe, the stability of its political system.
PLEITGEN: So, as you can see, Becky, there is a great deal at stake here. And I can tell you from speaking to the folks here that the people here,
voters understand that there's a lot at stake and certainly the politicians on all sides of the equation do as well.
There's one who described this election to me as what he believes to be the most important non-presidential election in this country's history since
the Islamic Revolution.
[11:05:17] ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right, Fred, thank you.
And you just heard Fred telling us about the tension between hardline and moderate elements inside Iran, now we're hearing that authorities have
arrested 80-year-old former UNICEF official Bakar Namazi (ph). His son, an American businessman, is already in custody in Iran. Siamak Namazi (ph) was
detained back in October.
Now Iran has used prisoners as bargaining chips in talks in the past, including the recent nuclear deal.
Well, mentioned Qatar has been involved in talks over a planned cease-fire in
Syria. Of coruse, Iran a stakeholder in that conflict.
We're waiting to see whether that truce actually takes effect as scheduled on Friday at midnight Damascus time.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia leading Operation North Thunder, which is said to be the largest ever war games in the Middle East.
Many Gulf states are taking part, including Qatar.
Saudi Arabia has also been bombing ISIS militants in Syria.
Well, remember, Saudi wants to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gone. Iran wants him to stay in power.
CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is with us in Riyadh this evening.
Nic, it seems the Russian president has been working the phones with the stakeholders in Syria, not least Iran and Saudi selling the importance of
this cessation of violence brokered by Moscow and Washington.
What is the perspective where you are as to its prospects?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a perspective here that says let's wait and see. And of course it's in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that is hosting the Syrian opposition known as the high negotiating committee. This is the group that went to Geneva for the
peace talks just over a month ago there. It's represented by a whole range of opposition from hardliner Islamic groups all the way through to a former
I've been talking over the past month or so with the spokesman for that group, Saleh Masled (ph), I met him in Geneva. Talked to him there. I met
him in Munich where a new deal was worked out in Munich that outlined a ceasefire that would have been a week ago now.
And as we look ahead to the ceasefire that's outlined a little over 24 hours from now, when I talked to Saleh Masled (ph) again today, I asked
him, you know, how do they feel about it. They have been -- he told me before they're telling me they are watching Russian actions. He told me at
the moment they don't really trust Russia at the moment. Russia, he said, has gone on bombing civilians along with the regime.
He said that they call on their international allies like the United States and Gulf Arabs to put more pressure on Russia to bring about a solution
He also told me that he feels that the deal that has been broken between the United States and Russia is very much a heavily Russian influenced type of deal. So, I asked them, OK, if that's the case if you don't have faith
in this, which he doesn't. He said any cease-fire may collapse in 48 hours. What
is your plan b. This is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALEM AL-MESLET, SPOKESMAN FOR HIGH NEGOTIATION COMMITTEE: We'll wait. We'll wait now, you know, and see. We don't know how to predict what
happens in the coming few days. In fact we mentioned something about two weeks to see and test the goodwill of the other parties. But I don't think
this will really last 48 hours because we have experience with the regime and Russia and the Iranian troops that are in Syria.
The Iranian militias.
But, we'll wait and see, you know. We hope that this will work out. Then we'll talk about (inaudible). You know, (inaudible) -- you know, for us
it's it's important to push for a political solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: So the view from here is to be patient not to get ahead of the events on the ground. But this is, if you will, the moderate opposition,
but it's wide and how cohesive can can it remain through a period of perhaps faltering cease-fire really not clear, Becky.
ANDERSON: So those, then, in Riyadh keeping a very keen eye on what happens
in the next 24 hours so far as that cease-fire is concerned.
And, indeed, on what happens with these Iranian elections, clearly.
Would an Iranian legislature, Nick, less influenced by hard liners, mean that relations with Saudi Arabia might improve? I mean, we have seen very
bad and deteriorating relations between Riyadh and Tehran recently.
ROBERTSON: We have. I mean, you only have to look back a couple of years ago and the president was coming to Saudi Arabia -- president of Iran was
coming to Saudi Arabai meeting with the king. Relationships were at least at a public level they were beyond superficial.
There was discussions, there were talks at the most senior level. You know, when I arrive here now and I talk to people now and I saw this when I
was here a couple months ago. That level of trust with Iranians is really low. People are saying the state of our relationship is such I don't even
feel like I can look in the face and talk to these people.
So if you had a change in leadership, a substantial change in leadership in Iran, it could perhaps change that dynamic, but as we know it's about the
share of the oil market and money and regional influence. It's about power. There's a lot in a state of flux. So it's going to take awhile to
rebuild that trust.
But a different government, one that the Saudis view as more moderate would likely be a positive step in that direction, Becky.
ANDRESON: Nic Robertson is in Riyadh for you this evening, more on the oil industry. The oil markets with my colleague John Defterios a little later
this hour as it relates to exactly what we're talking about now.
Thank you, Nic.
CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh also standing by for you tonight. He's in Lebanon's capital city Beirut for you where
regional pressure has been spilling over.
Nick, Lebanon caught up in this Saudi-Iranian crosshairs as it were. How and why?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Saudis announced very abruptly that they would be canceling roughly $4 billion
worth of ostensibly security military aid that was due to be given to this country. A complex mechanism in fact in which the money would be given to
buy French weapons that they then would hand to the Saudis so they can give, potentially, to the Lebanese army and security forces here. That is
now called to a halt.
And I think the notion behind that idea was to suggest in a complex balance between sort of the Sunni gulf states and Iran who were a key backer of
Hezbollah here, a key political and military faction here in Lebanon that the Saudis will try to exact some sort of influence, to sort of take that
money out of the equation, to make a clear statement.
I think some season observers of the Saudis thought that decision to suddenly publicly announce that was uncharacteristically abrupt and public.
And it was perhaps designed to play into the political discussion here, exhausting, frankly, how in nigh on two years this country has been unable
to elect a president, a man who would have to be Christian, but one whose identity Hezbollah and all the other different political factions here seem
incapable to agree upon.
The was a deal which could potentially have solved that, but that seems to be have been pushed to one side here.
The Saudis and other Gulf states, too, adding to that withdrawal of aid by saying, you know, we advise citizens not to come here unless strictly
necessary, some other Gulf states using harsher terms saying leave immediately. The idea being you could also starve what's left of Lebanon's
tourism economy after the bombings here of the Gulf State's money during the summer, which can often keep this economy afloat, Becky.
ANDERSON: What is the Lebanese government trying to do, if anything, at this point to ease fears of Hezbollah's influence as we look towards this
cessation of violence, let's call it, rather than cease-fire. 24 hours out, we have been talking about that both with Fred and with Nic in Riyadh
What's the sense from your perspective where you are as to the potential success at all?
WALSH: Well, I think the Lebanese government don't necessarily exact that much over Hezbollah at all. And I think pretty much Hezbollah will go
along with what the Syrian regime has been saying, which is their desire to see this upheld as much as possible with some gray language potentially
allowing for terrorist groups who aren't considered terrorist groups under the deal to be targeted.
That's the big issue over all of this, Becky, is who, quote, is the terrorist? Now, the deal says it's ISIS and the face of al Qaeda in Syria,
the Nusra Front.
But if you look at UN language, you could potentailly see groups associated to al Qaeda being part of that. There are lots of groups that have fought
alongside Nusra even an official alliances who share battle space with them. It could be very messy and there's a sign of how bad it could be in
statements from the Syrian government who said they reserve the right to potentially go after al Qaeda-linked groups as well as those outlined in
the deal. And then Syrian army individuals being quoted in state media, too, saying some towns, in their mind, the rebels are al Qaeda. And
therefore, that town can be a target.
Now, that's fed into the suspicion held amongst more moderate Syrian rebels that where it could fall apart. If you see continued military operations
against, quote, ISIS or al Qaeda targets that the moderate opposition consider not to be al- Qaeda targets, that's where it all starts to fall to
pieces. And I think that is potentially where we'll see the loss of life that stops the guns from falling silent, Becky.
[11:15:13] ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is in Lebanon. And lest we forget, that a country suffering under the impact of so many refugees from the
Syrian crisis, one of four countries neighboring Syria harboring those who are fleeing what is this bloody civil war.
Right, still plenty to come on this special edition of Connect the World live from Doha this evening for you, including what is next for the price
of oil? We're going to get an exclusive interview with the president of OPEC.
Also, the 2022 World Cup will be hosted here in Doha, and two of the five men running to head up world football are from the Arab world. We'll
analyze Friday's FIFA elections for you this hour.
And some wet relief. CNN takes a special flight aboard a UAE plane hoping to
make rain in the desert.
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is a special edition of Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of Doha in Qatar this evening. Welcome
We are in the Qatari capital for a show focusing on the Middle East, a major issue at the heart of tensions across the region is oil. Countries
like Qatar depend heavily on oil revenues for public spending. But with prices near rock bottom, they are being forced to tighten their belts to
major regional powers also affected by falling oil prices are Saudi Arabia and Iran. They are engaged
in an unprecedented feud. Now, on opposing sides in regional conflicts in Syria and in Yemen, not least
But they are also both major oil producers and key members of the OPEC oil cartel.
Well, here to make sense of it all is CNN Money emerging markets editor John Defterios.
And one of the reasons that we are here, John, in Doha tonight is that you had the opportunity to talk to the energy minister here who is also the
rotating president of OPEC.
And you wanted to get a sense of how he was navigating these falling oil prices. What did he tell you?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: What is very interesting, if you think about Qatar, it's very little in terms of oil production itself.
Known for its natural gas, but trying to do a very big job when it comes to energy, that is, Becky, trying to build a coalition of the major oil
producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia who often compete against each other for customers, but also politically, as you well know, made much more
difficult this week, because Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister while in Houston was suggesting that the high cost producers, basically to cut their
costs or leave the market, and suggesting that Saudi Arabia can live with lower oil prices for a very long time.
So, I sat down with him at his office. We had a very candid conversation before the interview and then I asked him on the record is it really the
right strategy to go with a freeze, not try to cut production, and will Saudi Arabia is it really the right strategy to go with the freeze and not
try to cut production and will Saudi Arabia really cooperate as time goes on. Let's take a listen.
MOHAMMED BIN SALEH AL-SADA, QAAR MINISTEROF ENERGY AND INDUSTRY: At the moment the best possible feasible proposal is to freeze at the level of
production of January, but I'm sure Saudi Arabia, like any other country, is watching the market closely and of course they will act appropriately.
DEFTERIOS: But you have four players that have agreed plus another two, Kuwait and the UAE, firmly committed. But I don't see any other producers
stepping up and saying we support your effort to freeze.
AL-SADA: In fact, the meeting in Doha was extremely successful where we had that agreement of getting a proposal put on the table of everybody's
like OPEC and non-OPEC. The momentum is going and we think that it will gather more and more approval because it's to the interest of all parties.
DEFTERIOS: Is it really fair to ask Iran, which was out of the market for four years because of sanctions to be a signatory to a freeze
AL-SADA: We met with the Iranian minister. And he was very supportive of any measures to stabilize the market, though they asked for special
consideration with regard to their situation.
DEFTERIOS: Special consideration means that they don't want to be participating. They actually said that the proposal is ridiculous. Does
he get the special dispensation to stay out?
AL-SADA: That is their position, of course. And we respect their position and of course it will be a sovereign decision and it's looked at by other
countries in OPEC and non-OPEC.
DEFTERIOS: Isn't the wild card that demand will drop? We have all been focused on the oversupply, but if China goes pear shaped in the second half
of the year, it changes the game.
AL-SADA: Although, this may affect the demand, but the level of demand will continue increasing at at least 1.2 million barrel a day. That
increase we need to plan for it. We need to think rationally and responsibly to meet it and we need fairer price so we are able to meet such
DEFTERIOS: At this level that we're at today, February 2017, could we actually see a $50 floor through this natural falling out of non-OPEC
production because of the low price?
AL-SADA: I would not be surprised if this is the situation and we are even cross the $50 per barrel by then.
DEFTERIOS: Because of the 600,000 barrels that's coming out of the higher cost production, it's forcing the players out.
DEFTERIOS: Yeah, I agree that the drop is going to be sharper in the coming few months, because the credit lines opened for many companies,
smaller companies in particular, is not there anymore and they cannot sustained losses for long.
AL-SADA: And by the way, the current price is not sustainable for conventional oil let alone nonconventional oil. So the situation is
absolutely not sustainable one.
ANDERSON: The OPEC president speaking to you earlier. Optimistic about the price of oil going forward.
How optimistic is he about bringing Iran in from the cold so far as resources are concerned?
DEFTERIOS: It's amazing, Becky. Because he's the first to call a price, $50 by this time next year. Iran remains a problem. You can't imagine
they would sign on to an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to freeze its production because they have been out of the market for four
years. He didn't really address the issue, because he didn't want to offend Saudi Arabia at the same time. It's a thorny issue still.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right, John, thank you very much indeed. John Defterios speaking to the energy minister here in Qatar who also holds the
revolving OPEC presidency at present.
All right, practically every country is being affected as oil prices hover around $30 on the barrel mark. But how much does it cost countries to
produce? Well, head to CNNMoney.com where you can find these graphs breaking it down for you. Once you see these figures, it is easier to
understand why some nations are desperate for prices to go back up.
We're in Doha for you this evening. Live with Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
Coming up, it is a presidential election that's truly international, but whoever wins won't lead a country but rather a sport. We take a look at
what is ahead for FIFA.
First up, though, this evening. It's the final part of what has been a special series along the Ancient Silk Road. Nine months on the road we
have been and CNN dropped in on a world fair in Milan as its last stop that offered some unique ideas about the food of the future.
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Milan, the business capital of Italy. Last year it hosts an expo at international exposition to show
knowledge and innovative ideas.
Feeding the planet, energy for life, this time it was all about the future of
For Marco Polleto (ph), that means embracing what's right in front of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Algae are everywhere like in every city and every pond, river, canal you find different type of algae. So, they are a resource
that is present everywhere, but we currently are not exploiting.
UDAS: This is the world's first urban algae canopy, a structure that could one day produce an unusual but viable food source.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Growing population, access to meat, to animal protein is going to become more and more expensive, more and more difficult, and
often not very high quality. So, with algae offer is an alternative to that. It's a new stream of nutrients, of vegetable protein, which are
completely sustainable and they are grown within the city.
UDAS: Integrating technology with nature, it also provides shade, an equivalent of 25 trees worth of oxygen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Algae are incredible biological machines, or photosynthetic machines. Their entire body is for photosynthetic, whereas
in a tree only the leaves are.
UDAS: When the shines more intensely, the algae grows reducing the transparency of the canopy and creating a shady environment. In the
future, Marco Polleto (ph) invisages whole buildings clad with this living shelter, powering cities and feeding the building's inhabitants.
A petri dish like this has the same amount of protein as one steak. Algae panna cotta, is this really the food of the future?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe so, that's why I actually prepared it for you to have a go.
UDAS: Let's give it a shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a a good spot to start from.
UDAS: It better be good.
Very strong, but very, very nice. I can see myself eating this.
An acquired taste, perhaps, but this could be one step towards a larger vision for the future of our food.
Sumnima Udas, CNN, along the Silk Road.
[11:32:49] ANDERSON: FIFA is preparing for a highly anticipated election. On Friday, the body in charge of world football will choose a new leader.
Now, let's hope this will be the beginning of a new era for the organization which has been mired in corruption scandals. Five candidates
are vying for the position.
Well, Alex Thomas, my colleague, spoke to one of those candidates, Gianni Infantino, who currently heads the European football body UEFA. He is
considered one of the two frontrunners in this race along with Sheikh Salman.
Alex live for you this evening in Zurich.
What did Infantino say, Alex?
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Gianni Infantino was very keen to emphasize his record at UEFA where he's been general-secretary since 2009,
the man in charge of the financial fair play rules that it advocates say have cut the debt amongst many European clubs, although critics say it has
protected the wealthiest clubs as well.
He's also the face of many of the Champion's League draws, a competition that's watched around the world. So people will be familiar with his face
if not his name.
And although Sheikh Salman of Bahrain, Becky, is still the bookmaker's favorite, word on the ground here is that this is very much turning into a
neck and neck race between Infantino and Salman.
There are three other candidates, of course, Prince Ali of Jordan, Tokyo Sexwale the South African who was part of the 2010 World Cup process, and
also Jerome Champagne, again another former FIFA employee who is a long- time ally of Sepp Blatter, something that he's not tried to hide during this campaign. I'm not sure it's done him much good, Becky.
ANDERSON: No, probably not.
Listen, Alex, how important is Friday's election?
THOMAS: Ist's hugely important. And actually not just the presidential election, it's also a vote for the reform proposals on the same day at the
Hallan (ph) Stadium here on Friday.
In fact some are saying this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for FIFA to reform itself and to get those reforms right.
And the reason it's crucial, Becky, is because at the moment FIFA has victim status according to the U.S. Justice Department, one of two criminal
investigations. The others here in Switzerland looking at corruption in football. And that means the future of FIFA could be guaranteed if those
criminal investigations go off to individuals, not the governing body of the planet's most popular sport.
But in order for that status to be protected the whole of congress, more than 200 national association bosses from across the planet, must vote yes
to the reforms. I have spoken to at least one who doesn't want anything to do with them.
ANDERSON: That's fascinating. All right.
Well, to your mind, then, is this election going to restore FIFA's reputation?
THOMAS: It's the start of it, Becky. And they have to elect the right president. I'm not going to start editorializing here and say who are
those five candidates who will be the best fit for FIFA, because they have all pledged to follow the reform process that's been outlined.
The key thing will be to get a yes vote for those proposals and then whichever president is elected they have to mot just be seen to do the
right thing but actually in practice put in all the reform pledges, notably splitting up the
football part of FIFA from the finance.
More oversight, more independent members, crucially quotas for women in all FIFA committees. There will be fewer committees as well.
But there is a real skepticism at whether you can change the culture of football bosses used to their luxury lifestyles and their financial perks.
ANDERSON: All right, Alex, we will be watching for the results of that election very, very closely.
Alex Thomas is on the story for you this evening.
Well, the events leading up to Friday's election emerged, as Alex suggested, from what was a complex web of corruption and deceit.
Claire Sebastian now takes a look back for you at the investigation that brought down Sepp Blatter and for FIFA to reinvent itself.
CLAIRE DANES, ACTRESS: You understand.
MANDY PATINKIN, ACTOR: It's a time line.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the series Homeland this is how the CIA unravels the most complex of cases. The scandal engulfing FIFA is just
SEPP BLATTER, FRM. FIFA PRESIDENT: Let's got FIFA.
THOMAS: Never seen anything like this.
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Racketeering, wire fraud.
SEBASTIAN: We need to start here on May 27, 2015 in New York, the day everything came to a head. We'll trace the strands back to this point in a
LYNCH: They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This really is the world cup of fraud.
SEBASTIAN: The web of alleged corruption spanned the globe from the sport's marketing companies in Miami and the British Vigin Islands, which
pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks for the marketing rights to tournaments to the allegation Jack Warner, the former head of CONCACAF,
FIFA's confederation in the Americas accepted a $10 million payment for backing South Africa's 2010 World Cup bid.
Warner denies this allegation.
And the news plunged FIFA into turmoil.
BLATTER: I will call an extraordinary congress and put at disposal my function.
SEBASTIAN: To understand how we got to this point, we need to go back to 2010 and the announcement that Russia would host the 2018 World Cup and
Qatar the 2022 tournament.
Accusations of foul play had already started to swirl. By May of 2011, Jack Warner and Mohammed bin Hamman, a candidate for the FIFA presidency,
had both been suspended over alleged corruption in the awarding of those bids. Both denied any wrongdoing. Both have now been banned from
football-related activities for life.
Around the same time over in the U.S., the FBI had started to look at this man -- Chuck Blazer, then second in command at CONCACAF. His lavish
lifestyle was the stuff of legend. He even famously rented a $6,000 a month apartment in New York's Trump Tower for his cat.
CARLOS GIRON, FRM. CONCACAF STAFFER: Most of the time we went into official tournament, he would walk around with $100 bills you know with his
pockets literally filled with $100 bill.
SEBASTIAN: The IRS was after Blazer for failing to pay his taxes. According to The New York Daily News, the FBI and the IRS got together and
gave him an ultimatum: go to prison for tax evasion, or help with the FIFA investigation. He opted to help, even reportedly wearing a wire in a car
key chain at the London Olympics in 2012.
Chuck Blazer's evidence was crucial to the FBI. These are court documents dating back to 2013 unsealed in June last year. They showed Blazer
admitting to accepting bribes and kickbacks including in relation to South Africa's
World Cup bid.
He mentioned that others were involved in that. Remember the Department of Justice's allegation about Jack Warner at that $10 million.
We're looking for Jack.
CNN tracked Warner down in Trinidad in June. He's still there fighting extradition to the U.S.
RICHARD WEBER, U.S. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE: This case has been nothing short of one of the most complex worldwide financial investigations ever
SEBASTIAN: 41 individuals and corporations have so far been charged, 14 have pleaded guilty. Investigators say they have traced hundreds of
millions in funds through accounts in at least 40 countries. Their work is far from done.
Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.
[11:40:15] ANDERSON: Well, live from Doha this evening this is Connect the World. We're going to take a short break. Coming up, though, the human
face of the oil crisis, away from the world trading floors and economics. We meet the workers now struggling to pay their bills.
ANDERSON: You're with us in Doha in Qatar this evening at 7:42 in the evening. This is a special edition of Connect the World with me Becky
While we have shone you tonight how falling crude prices are hurting oil dependent economies, we can't, though, forget what that means for average
workers whose paychecks are also taking a hit.
Phil Black this evening shows us the human face of this oil crisis in Russia.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDEJNT: Talyatti, like most Russian cities, openly wears evidence of its Soviet past. Some local communists
still yearn for it, largely because of the boom-bust economic cycle that's followed.
Russia's latest recession means people are once again struggling financially. Talyatti's fame, its future, was built on one industry, one
product. The Lada, an enormous source of Soviet pride. Simple, affordable cars that didn't really change for decades.
The latest Ladas are still made, but now along with models from Nissan and Renault. Foreign producers invested heavily in Russia during rosier
economic times because they saw huge potential. But that's proving elusive. Last year the Russian market shrunk 36 percent.
The churning hum of productivity can only be heard at the sprawling complex four days a week now. With Russia's oil dependent economy in crisis, new
car sales have plummeted so workers have had their hours slashed. Leonid Emshanov, 25, works at the car plant as a mechanic. That's where he met his
wife Natalya. They're expecting a child.
They say the new four-day working week will reduce their income by more than 20 percent. He says his monthly wage was 20,000 rubles, now it's
around 15,000, which is less than $200. The couple was in trouble even before the huge, forced pay cut.
They couldn't afford rent so they moved into a two bedroom apartment with three other relatives. They say their income covers food and utilities, but
Leonid says across Talyatti service business like cafes are closing, young people are leaving to find work in other cities and apartments sit empty
while crime is up and people are drinking more. He says the city's economic and social decay is blamed on something beyond their control. "People only talk about oil in this country," he says. "It
feels like our country is nothing but one big oil pipeline."
Economists have long warned Russia's economy is dangerously reliant on oil exports. Today's cheap prices are a key part of Russia's economic storm.
And then there are sanctions over Ukraine, a tumbling ruble, and high inflation, especially on food. The result is a shrinking economy that's yet
to bottom out.
Talyatti's future remains bleak. Fewer people buying cars. More people like Leonid and Natalya carefully counting out coins just to get by.
Phil Black, CNN Money, Talyatti, Russia.
ANDERSON: We're joined again tonight by my colleague CNN Money's emerging markets editor John Defterios.
The plight for Russia's, John, may get even worse as Iran gets itself back involved in these
markets. This couldn't come at a worse time.
DEFTERIOS: Absolutely, actually. Four painful years for Iran. They are eager to come back and capture the market share but mostly capture back the
customers that they lost during the four years.
Very interesting figure. They were out of the market at the worse time, Becky, when oil was
averaging $100 a barrel they were losing $50 billion a year in revenues. So it's politically important for Bijan Zageneh, who is the oil minister,
and the rest of the cabinet to come forth and say we need to earn our market share back. But at the same time, we won't cave in to the
demands from Saudi Arabia, which is basically the ones calling for the freeze.
Now, for them to meet expectations and get back up to 4 million barrels a day, they need to raise about $185 billion of foreign direct investment.
They are going on the road show right now. But what do investors want? You know this very well, they want clear line of sight. They want
governance. They want rule of law. And they want to engage with moderates, and that's what this election is all about.
And perhaps the best kept secret when you go on the ground in Tehran and you talk to people in the business community, they say the Revolutionary
Guard has a very tight grip on business right now. And are they willing to let loose of that grip, open up the economy and that's what we have to
watch very carefully during the elections right now and some of the stacking that we have seen with some
of the candidates going forward. Will it truly open up to be this fast growing emerging market for
ANDERSON: You can see how we Connect the World talking to Russians about the impact of a falling oil price and the dent in the economy there, the
impact of the Iranians coming back into this market. And as you rightly point out, John, as we look to these upcoming parliamentary elections in
Iran over this weekend, we should give us a better sense who is in charge, hard liners or moderates pretty much to put it in the most basic of terms.
What is the potential of the Iranian market, the domestic and international markets, were there
to be a new more moderate, more open forward thinking government going forward.
DEFTERIOS: well, this is not an overstatement. It's the last of the major frontier markets yet to open. Population of 80 million consumers blessed
with natural resources, about a trillion dollars worth of mineral reserves. The largest combined gas and oil reserves in the world.
ANDERSON: And that worries these guys here.
DEFTERIOS: For sure, and Saudi ARabia as well.
An abundance of human capital. They have been engaging with the world.
I thought it was very interesting. As Javad Zarif said, as soon as he signed the deal his first comments were it's time for economic engagement.
They've ordered 100 AirBus planes. 50 (inaudible) from Brazil this week. That's great for the business community outside, but the population lost 20
percent of their average incomes during those years of sanctions right now. They need to prove to the people that engagement with the west will mean
payback for them going forward.
This is the big challenge. Very high youth unemployment at this stage.
We can't forget there was a green revolution six years ago. That was a different path. People fighting to engage the outside world. We know why
that failed. When I was on the ground in Tehran in the autumn and you talked to people they're saying we want to
reach out to the outside world not for the sake of just being engaged to the west or engaged on the international community, we want access to
goods, we want access to jobs and we want to be part of the league kind of challenging if you will Turkey. They have the same size population, Becky,
but half the GDP. It shouldn't be that way with those natural resources. And this is their opportunity.
ANDRESON: Absolutely, fascinating. here's a country as the rest of the world stares down the
barrel of recession, here's a country that's looking at what 7 percent growth going forward. I mean, I know it's from a standing start, but, you
DEFTERIOS: No, no, no. You're absolutely correct.
ANDERSON: All right, John, thank you very much indeed.
Live from Doha, you're watching Connect the World. Coming up, hold on to your seats, viewers. We'll be taking to the skies with the cloud seeders -
- cloud seeders, you heard it right -- of the UAE. Their job is to make it rain.
Our crew's task was to survive the ride.
[11:51:50] ANDERSON: Well, it is nearing the end of the winter here in the Middle East. Yes, I can hear you saying poor you guys, you have had it
really hard: not. And the weather today was not to rub it in or anything. It's been another gloriously sunny day in the Gulf.
But the clear skies and the sunshine do have their drawbacks, I have to say, mainly the lack of rain.
Well, to combat that the government the UAE is taking matters into its own hands. CNN's Jon Jensen explains.
JON JENSEN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): At a remote airstrip outside Abu Dhabi, New Zealander pilot Mike Anstis is setting off to do something most
would consider impossible in a desert. He's hoping to make it rain.
Mike is cloud seeding.
MIKE ANSTIS, CLOUD SEEDING PILOT: OK, I'm going to fly. Let's do it.
JENSEN: He does it by firing salt compounds into the air, to increase rainfall.
ANSTIS: On the wings of the aircraft, we've got flares, which we fire the flares, it burns and it emits a smoke.
JENSEN: That smoke then attracts water vapor, creating bigger droplets.
The flares though are only effective if launch from inside certain thick clouds.
(on camera): If you don't like turbulence, this is definitely not the flight for you because if you're cloud seeding, kind of like Mike here,
they don't avoid storms. They head right to the heart of them.
(voice-over): Our plane is tossed around in the wind, side to side, and down.
ANSTIS: We're dropping.
There is a calculated risk associated with this. We do have to know when it's time to bail out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How's the weather there?
JENSEN: On the ground, scientists at the country's meteorology center track the flight.
They started cloud seeding 15 years ago, to help sustain a growing population in the UAE, one of the world's top consumers of water. Last
year, they flew more than 150 flights. Each costs around $5,000. But they say it's cheaper and greener than operating desalination plants, UAE's main
source of fresh water.
ABDULLAH AL MANDOOS, EXECUTIVE DIR., NATIONAL CENTRE OF METEOROLOGY: Our material that we use is environmental salt. Very small, small amount that
does not affected the environment.
JENSEN: And it may be working.
ANSTIS: Rain is starting to come here --
JENSEN: Back where Mike first fired flares, a heavy downpour pounded the plane.
(on camera): Did you just make this rain?
ANSTIS: It's a natural rain but we're trying to increase it.
JENSEN (voice-over): Scientists are still studying how much water cloud seeding makes, and the long term effects on mother nature. But in a region
where annual rainfall is just around three inches, rainmakers like Mike say this may be the best way to sustain life in the desert.
John Jensen, CNN, somewhere over the UAE.
ANDERSON: Well, yep, somewhere over the UAE making rain, making it sound glamorous.
Well, it isn't as glamorous as it sounds. The actual ride, I've got to tell you, was a lot bumpier than the version that we have just shown you.
So for your Parting Shots tonight, here is a behind the scenes look at what cloud seeding is really like.
[11:55:14] JENSEN: This is a Beach Craft King Air twin engine propeller plane. It's a very small plane, as you can see. It only holds about eight
people. And we're just about to go cloud seeding and that means we have to fly into storms not around them. And I'm going to tell you something I
haven't told anyone before, because CNN flies me all over the world and I hate to fly. I'm scared of it. I'm scared of turbulence and this is about
to be a very rocky ride.
Taking us on today's flight is veteran pilot pilot Mike Anstis. He's a cloud seeder, somewhere
who creates rain by firing salt compounds into the air.
But you can only do it by flying inside stormy weather like this.
ANSTIS: We're heading into a major cloud right now. And it's getting bumpy.
JENSEN: Wow, we're dropping.
Our plane is tossed around in the wind.
I don't know if the camera can see this.
Most pilots try to avoid what you're doing now.
ANSTIS: In order to see the cloud, we have to fly into the updrafts, the turbulence.
That's the updraft.
JENSEN: Whoa, it felt like a downdrop.
We just dropped what felt like 5,000 feet.
ANSTIS: It was maybe 5 feet.
JENSEN: Is this risky at all?
ANSTIS: Yeah, there's a calculated risk associated with this. And we do have to know when it's time to bail out.
JENSEN: And for our photographer, Jude, it looks like that time is now.
Our cameraman in the back right now is not taking to the turbulence very well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's (inaudible). It's like you don't have any balance.
JENSEN: Feel sick?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit, yeah
JENSEN: I'm not lying when I say this is really, really uncomfortable. I mean, I honestly don't know how somebody like Mike can do this for a
ANSTIS: It's a buzz, I guess. You get endorphins.
JENSEN; For him, maybe, but our team was more than happy to make it safely back down to the ground.
John Jensen, CNN, outside Abu Dhabi.
ANDESON: It's a buzz, I guess.
Cloud seeding, who would have thought.
As always, I want to get your thoughts about that piece or any of the other pieces on the show. The teams there do get in touch that's at our Facebook
page, Facebook.comCNNConnect. We read them all. You can tweet me @BeckyCNN this evening. We read those as well even if I don't want them
to. No, they do.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World.