Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Awaiting Trump's Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal; Iran Sys It Is Complying with Deal, Will Not Renegotiate; Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping Meet for Second Time in Two Months. Aired 11a-12n ET

Aired May 8, 2018 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:00] LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta filling in for Becky Anderson who is

on assignment.

Well let's get straight to our top story. We are a few hours away from one of the most crucial decisions of Donald Trump's presidency, one that could

affect not only the Middle East but his entire world. And he is due to announce whether the U.S. will stick with Iran nuclear deal or scrap it as

he's long threatened to do. CNN is learning that he's expected to restart sanctions on Iran, the first step towards withdrawal. The process could

take months. And that the critical point as it could allow a narrow window for U.S. allies to continue working towards a revised deal that could keep

President Trump on board.

Well, at least one U.S. allies may already know Mr. Trump's decision, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with him a short time ago via phone.

We are covering this story. We have reporters right around the world this hour. Stephen Collinson is live for us in Washington. Amir Daftari is in

Tehran. Nic Robinson is in London and Jim Bittermann is in Paris. Good to have you all with us. I want to go first to Stephen. This was a big

campaign promise of Donald Trump. He has been in office just 15 months. Could this be the most consequential decision he has to make?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think certainly on the international stage. We saw the President pull out of the Paris climate

deal his first year in office. I think this will have a much more serious reverberations throughout the world. It would certainly trigger a split

between the United States and its European allies. So, I think, yes, it's the most consequential foreign policy decision yet.

And it's very interesting. The President has made no secret of his distaste for this deal. If he talked to diplomats that have been trying to

change his mind and have been talking to the White House. They say the prime reason is that it is a prime achievement of President Barack Obama.

It's a key part of his foreign policy legacy and the President, you know, doesn't like anything that puts Obama in a good light.

The President really hasn't come before the American people and said exactly why he doesn't like this deal, apart from saying it's insane and

ridiculous. And he hasn't offered a road map for what comes next. So, in that sense, yes, it's a very consequential deal and it takes us into

dangerous potential territory down the road?

KINKADE: And so, Stephen, what are Americans saying about all of this? What do opinion polls tell you?

COLLINSON: It's interesting. A new CNN poll out says that more than 60 percent of American believe the U.S. should stay in this deal. And

interestingly, there's not even a majority of Republicans who want President Trump to pull out. So, it's not as if he's being forced to do

this for political reasons. But it is a key campaign promise. He has been very adamant that he wants to fulfill the promises he made to his loyal

political base. And he needs that base to stick with him as he faces things like the Russia investigation and the mid-term elections. And as I

said, it's his deep distaste for everything that is related to Barack Obama that I believe is driving this decision more than anything else.

KINKADE: Right. That is interesting. Stephen, just stand by for us. I want to go to Amir in Iran. President Trump, of course, has called this

deal insane. The worst deal ever, Iran is adamant that it does not want it to be ripped up. What is Iran's President saying?

AMIR DAFTARI, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Actually, Lynda, we heard from him a few moments ago -- actually a few hours ago. The Iranian President Hassan

Rouhani reassuring the Iranians that if the U.S. does indeed pull out of this deal that Iran may struggle for a few months but in the end, it will

push through. He also had some words of warning for the U.S. Take a listen this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We shouldn't feel forced to do everything by ourselves. But of course, whether sanctions are

in place or not we should stand on our own feet. This is very important for the development of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAFTARI: So, talk of threats and consequences from the Iranian President, but not going into much detail. As far as the Iranians are concerned the

deal is the deal and there's no tweaking or changing it. And the same goes for average Iranians. As far as they're concerned, yes, sticking with the

deal may mean economic prosperity. It may mean foreign investment. It even may mean more jobs. But they too, do not want to be bullied by the

U.S. They say Iran has stuck to its ends of the bargain and the U.S. should, too.

[11:05:00] One person, in fact, told me if the Iranian do renegotiate, what's to stop the U.S. coming back six months down the line, a year down

the line, and saying, let's renegotiate again. So, the Iranian government and the Iranian people in line when it comes to the nuclear deal -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Amir, thank you very much. I want to go to Nic Robertson in London now. Nic, you covered these negotiations for many years. We've

seen President Trump pull out of a long list of international agreements, including the Transpacific Trade deal, the climate change agreement. But

what are the consequences if he pulls out of this one?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The consequences are many. I mean, one of them could be visions within the European Union. You

know, the partners who were co-signatories to this deal, work to get the deal. Germany, France, Britain have taken a common position. And we heard

it from the prime minister here a statement a few hours ago saying that we stand by the JCPOA that deal. We stand by that. We do understand and see

that President Trump has issues that we share and have concern about Iran's destabilizing influence in the region, about its ballistic missiles, about

the sunset clauses in the deal and various other issues.

But, you know, the position of the European countries has been that this deal is important, because it keeps stability in the region. So that's a

key concern. That abrogating the deal could push up oil prices. That could have knock on effects on the economies of all these countries. So,

you have those concerns there as well. You also have Secretary of State, John Kerry, doing some behind the scenes work. Because he helped negotiate

the deal, of course, with Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, who was one of his partners, obviously, in that negotiation. Trying to sort of

see how this can be stitched up and repaired, if you will. Or at least looking at a way that this deal can endure.

That has been criticized by President Trump. President Trump saying, you know, Kerry is just disappointed he didn't get the deal right. That he's

damaging national security. Get out of the way, John Kerry. Secretary Kerry for his part has answered back and said very clearly and this is what

we are hearing from the European partners as well. That this deal if you have it allows you to negotiate without the fear of Iran having nuclear

weapons. That you can negotiate these other points of concern. This is how he put it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Our friends are safer. If we stay in this agreement. We made an agreement. Iran is living by the

agreement. Yes, we have concerns on the missile, on Yemen, other things, but we should be working on those. The Obama administration made a clear

decision that working on those other issues and making progress on them is easier with an Iran that doesn't have a nuclear weapon than an Iran moving

towards one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: And that is what kept Britain, France, Germany all united. The concern -- one of the concerns going forward is, how do they handle what

President Trump does next? We know that he's calling the French President Emmanuel Macron. We talked to Downing Street here a little while ago,

Theresa May is not expecting a call there. It seems that the bromance, the relationship between Macron and Trump is known is winning out over that

special relationship between the United States and Britain. So, you know, it just intrinsically looking at it from that perspective these little

fissures open up. And we know that President Trump is no fan of the European Union and what it stands for economically vis-a-vis the United

States.

KINKADE: Thanks, Nic. I want to get more on that bromance from our Jim Bittermann. Because we know that the French President spoke with the U.S.

President last hour. Is this an 11th hour plea?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lynda, we're not really sure about that. We just got a communique from the Elysee

Palace here in the last few minutes. It doesn't give is very much at all. It says just that the two presidents discussed questions regarding peace

and stability in the Middle East. So, not a lot there. We're not even sure who initiated this phone call. Whether this was a last-minute hail

mary pass by Mr. Macron trying to convince Mr. Trump to decide otherwise in the way we think he's going to decide. Or whether it was a call for Mr.

Trump to Macron, preparing the ground, so to speak, for the Europeans and laying out ahead of time his decision so that they'll have a little

advanced notice.

It's President Macron's relationship with Trump is, of course, drawn quite close. But he's been trying very desperately to convince Trump otherwise.

Other than the kind of opposition that Trump keeps expressing about his opposition to the Iran deal. And, in fact, Macron has not had much success

convincing Trump. This bromance really hasn't led to a whole lot of positive results and some of the French here have been asking exactly what

this chummy relationship is meaning for France. There is not a lot of positive developments and this may be another one of the ones that really

didn't turn out very well -- Lynda.

[11:10:06] KINKADE: And Emmanuel Macron, not the only European leader trying to plead with the U.S. President to stay in this deal. We also had

Britain's foreign secretary here this week in the U.S., and of course, as Nic mentioned, Theresa May, Angela Merkel have been speaking to President

Trump. Why does this deal mean so much to Europe?

BITTERMANN: Well, right after the sanctions were lifted on the 1st of January in 2016. A lot of the Europeans have scrambled to get some of the

business deals going with Iran and France among them. Since just the 1st year or so that period after the sanctions were lifted about 300 French

companies struck up business deals with Iran and there are several thousand that do business with Iran. So, once the sanctions were cleared, a lot of

companies signed contracts and did a lot of business. It's estimated last year's business between France for example, and Iran was estimated over a

billion euros. So, there is that interest.

But I think also as President Macron spelled it out quite clearly to "Der Spiegel". It could mean war. Is the way he put it. It could open a

pandora's box. It could be a steady downhill slide towards more aggression, more conflict in the Middle East and eventually perhaps war.

KINKADE: Right. All right Jim. I what to go back to Nic and what a plan B could look like. Because we heard from the U.S. President after meeting

with Emmanuel Macron that he said the French President was opened to his idea of making some sort of amendment. Agreeing with him that this still

needs some fixing. So, what could that look like?

ROBERTSON: Yes, and Boris Johnson, really echoed a similar sentiment from the British perspective as well. And that's what we heard from Theresa

May, that yes, there are avenues that can be progressed upon that would help solve some of the issues President Trump has with the deal with Iran

right now. But Boris Johnson also went on to say in an interview with "Fox and Friends" apparently perhaps hoping to catch President Trump's eye and

ear. That he didn't really see enough flesh on the bones for a plan B.

The bottom line is we really don't have a good idea of what President Trump is considering here. Is it a hard pullout or is he going to do it and give

as you mentioned earlier, the possibly of a time frame for the United States' allies and the United States to work with Iran to plug these

problems that President Trump has with the deal. The ballistic missiles and stability in the region. The sunset clause if they want tougher

inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog. All of these things, but the reality is that that deal, the

JCPOA that was finally agreed in 2015, came about as the result of a certain set of geopolitical circumstances at a time when Russia wanted to

court the United States, certainly more than it would appear to do now. That there was -- Iran had been in noncompliance with the international

community over its honesty about its nuclear weapons program.

So, there was a wait of international opinion against Iran on that point. We're not at that same time and place. It's not clear even if President

Trump buys a few weeks, a few months here, for further consultations and discussions, that that's something that Iran is going to go along with. It

certainly said if opening up the deal is a non-starter from their point of view.

But we just don't know how President Trump is going to nuance, what he's going to say or if he's going to nuance it at all. The Iranians have

certainly prepared the ground from their perspective that the plan B for the Europeans right now, soldier on alone without the United States.

Really rip opened that fissure that exists between Europe and the United States and under President Trump. You know, we've heard those points laid

out. The climate change agreements, TPP, all of these issues then become lay bearers, significant differences or can they go along in some small

degree with President Trump? We just don't know until we hear what he says -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Absolutely. Nic, I just want to fall back to Amir on that point, with regards to Iran. The fact that Iran does not want to make any

amendment. Wants to stick with the deal that is in place. Amir, what is the gain economically from the deal so far? And what would it make -- what

would be worthwhile for Iran to stick to a deal with some amendments? What would that look like?

DAFTARI: I really doubt the Iranians have been talking about sticking to the deal, saying it's all or nothing, and not changing it. The issue is

for President Rouhani here and the administration that the deal so far as brought in some foreign investment, but not enough to trickle down to the

average Iranian.

[11:15:00] And so, we saw today, President Rouhani trying to reassure Iranians -- speaking at an oil and gas conference, actually. Telling them,

that listen, Iran will be OK. No, we have implemented a win/win policy. We've created trust with other countries. So, if we just continue on that

path then Iran will be OK -- Lynda.

All right. Amir Daftari in Iran, Nic Robertson in London, Jim Bittermann in Paris and Stephen Collinson in D.C. Good to have you all with us.

Thank you very much.

Well, still to come, the international wedding game is just about over. We will look at the global implications as the U.S. pulls the plug on the Iran

nuclear deal. Plus, CNN here's from the Australian academic who has lived more than a century and has now traveled thousands of kilometers to end his

life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KINKADE: You are watching CNN, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.

Well, India is reeling after two horrific crimes in which the victims were burned alive after being raped. Both crimes took place in Eastern India's

Jharkhand state. The first victim a 16-year-old girl died after a house was set ablaze. The other a 17-year-old survived but has been left with

burns to more than two thirds of her body. The rape cases have shocked and appalled many Indians who have been protesting against the brutal sexual

assaults and treatment of women in their country for years. Nikhil Kumar has the latest in this report from New Delhi.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Yet again Indians are talking about the problem sexual violence in this country. The latest outrage has

been prompted by two cases, both involving children, both in the same northeastern section of India, the state of Jharkhand. It's one of the

poorest parts of the country. And it's where on Friday we are told, a 17- year-old was allegedly raped and then set on fire. She survived. She's in hospital with 70 percent burns.

But in another part of the same state a 16-year-old is alleged to have been burned to death. Her parents say she was gang raped on Thursday. On

Friday, they tried to seek justice for her. They approached their local village council. This is a largely rural area. Now these councils have no

legal authority. But in these distance part of the country can sometimes have enormous influence. The council in response imposed a penalty on the

accused.

[11:20:00] But listen to what it is, 50,000 rupees -- that's just about $7.50 and 100 sit-ups. That's it. Money and sit ups. And that wasn't

even the worst of it. The accused men were told were so angered that the family had even sought justice at the attack the girls home. And that's

when we're told she died. She was burned to death.

Now these cases just come weeks after nationwide protests of a sexual violence here, prompted by other cases also involving children. Responding

to those protests the government of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued an emergency executive order, proposing to introduce the death penalty for

rape cases involving girls under 12.

But here's the thing, new laws were introduced back in 2013 after the gang rape of a young medical student in Delhi generated global headlines. What

has been missing, many say, is enforcement, speeches, outrage, new laws. As these new cases show it's simply not enough. Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New

Delhi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Women make up about 48 percent of the population in India, but in the wake of these relentless stories, do they feel safe? CNN asked Indian

women us that. And you can see what they told us at CNN.com/IndiaReacts.

We now look at the other stories on our radar right now. Armenia finally has a new prime minister. Opposition leader, Nikol Pashinyan, was elected

by parliament today. The ruling party decide not to block his candidacy after weeks of street demonstrations and political turmoil.

About a thousand former captives of the militant group Boko Haram are being cared for at a military facility in northern Nigeria. The Nigerian army

says they're mostly women and girls along with some men who were forced to become fighters. The army says it kills 50 Boko Haram members during the

rescue operation.

And just take a few seconds now to realize that share power of nature. This is a have a lava flow from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. Along with

this car, the ongoing eruption has destroyed dozens of buildings and forced hundreds of people to evacuate.

Well, the leaders of North Korea and China have met again for the second time in less than two months. Xi Jinping's and Kim Jong-un held a surprise

two-day summit in northeastern China. Chinese state media report they agreed to maintain their traditional bilateral ties and discuss the

situation on the North Korean Peninsula. Both leaders also met in March in Beijing. Well, the meeting is a part of a flurry of diplomatic activity in

the region ahead of expected talks between the U.S. and North Korea.

Our Matt Rivers joins us now live from Beijing. And Matt, I understand, President Xi has spoken with the U.S. President Trump this morning. Do we

have any indication of what they discussed?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no readouts yet, Lynda, from either side as far as we can tell. Their talk was supposed to be about 8:30 a.m.

eastern time.

That would have been not too long after China confirmed that this meeting between Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping took place. Presumably President Xi

would tell President Trumped a least some of what that conversation entailed. But, Lynda, this was a really surprise visit. No one really

thought this was going to happen or at least saw it coming for that matter. There was rumors all day long here in Beijing about a North Korean plane

that was seen in the Dalian, which is the port city in which these two leaders met in northeastern China.

But there was just maybe a senior official on board. We didn't know for sure until 7:00 p.m. when the evening news broadcast and the state

broadcaster here in China came out and confirmed that it was Kim Jong-un. And I can tell you, there were some gasps here in the bureau in Beijing.

But as you said, the readouts from state media basically said that these two men talked about denuclearization. The commitment to that. They

talked about the negotiations. Really kind of generic stuff. But the meeting was extremely important if only because what you are seeing here is

North Korean leadership and Kim Jong-un going to a country like China in a personal way, briefing the Chinese President on that Summit that took place

between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un. In a similar way you will see him go to the White House and brief President Trump.

What you're seeing is the leader of the two Korea -- the leaders of the two Koreas going to all the stake holders in these processes. Anyone that

wants a say in these negotiations moving forward, and at least presumably getting everybody on the same page in terms of what was said at that

historic Summit at the DMZ.

KINKADE: Is it quite a shock, Matt, that Kim Jong-un met with Xi Jinping again. But also, quite a surprise that he flew in to have this meeting.

RIVERS: Yes, he flew in as best we can tell. And he didn't take a train, which is how he got to Beijing. He was in Beijing only about 40 days ago,

and he took an armored train that his father had taken before him when he came to Beijing. So, he flew in. So, what that does to the logistics

here? Does that mean that Kim Jong-un can go somewhere further, for example, for this Summit, a place like Singapore? We still don't know the

exact location of this meeting. So, that certainly took everybody by surprise.

[11:25:00] But just further coming to China like this, it really shows that China is going to have a place in these negotiations. For weeks we have

been talking about China being nervous. That it was going to be pushed to the sidelines. That Moon Jae-in was going to talk to the Americans, going

to talk to the Japanese and China wasn't getting an audience with North Korea. Well, those concerns are at least put to the side for now. China

clearly showing that it will have a role in these negotiations, because North Korea is really making a concerted effort to bring China into whole

here -- Lynda

KINKADE: Yes, it certainly is. All right, Matt Rivers for us, joining us from Beijing. Up late there, thank you so much for staying with us.

We're live at the CNN center, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, much more on Donald Trump's imminent announcement on the Iran nuclear deal.

We'll get Israel's take on the agreement it says is based on a dangerous pack of lies.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KINKADE: You are watching CNN, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.

Well, back to our top story now. While many U.S. allies are urging Donald Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, one country has consistently said

the agreement should be shredded into pieces.

[11:30:01] Israel says Iran lied about its nuclear program and its intentions when it convinced world powers to sign the deal. You may

remember this dramatic speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week. Part of his years long battle against what he calls a historic

mistake.

Let's get more now from Jerusalem. We're joined by CNN's Oren Liebermann. And Oren, so many world leaders want U.S. to stay in this deal. Israel is

one of the few supporters that President Trump has to rip it up. What is Israel most concerned about?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right and we've seen this new sort of assault on the Iran nuclear deal coming from Prime

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech you saw there and then in a briefing we had with him on Sunday. Where he once again lashed out against

the deal saying it needs to be fully fixed or fully nixed.

Netanyahu's biggest concern is essentially the sanctions relief that Iran has gotten. Has given a lifeline to Iran's economy. And he says it is

that lifeline, it's the money that's poured into the economy that has allowed Iran to operate in Yemen, to expand in Iraq, to operate in Syria.

As well as funding Iranian proxy, Hezbollah in Lebanon. So that influence, that widening, growing influence, throughout the Middle East is Netanyahu's

biggest concern.

Now it is important to note the distinction here between Netanyahu and certainly he has there, but also from other Israelis. Security experts are

saying, look, the deal may not be perfect. But it's the best option you got right now for monitoring and inspecting Iran's nuclear program and

nuclear ambitions.

Netanyahu is firmly against that. He says, look, fully fix it or fully nix it. Now with hours to go, it seems to be Trump leaning towards the nix it

approach.

KINKADE: So, Oren, what would satisfy Israel? What sort of amendments could be made that would help Israel feel like Iran's regional ambitions

are being contained?

LIEBERMANN: So, for the nix it or fix it approach, let's deal with nix it first. If the deal is itself cancelled in some way, Netanyahu wants

sanctions. The strongest, most stringent sanctions the U.S. and others would be able to put in place against Iran. Because he sees that option of

crippling Iran's economy as the strongest way, the hardest way and most effective way of limiting Iran's economy. So, that's what he's pushing for

in a word.

But if it comes to fixing the deal, if it does come down to an option of the other signatories of the nuclear deal of the JCPOA, finding some sort

of fix that would satisfy Israel then the deal itself would be broader. It would address Iran's ballistic missile program. It would address Iran's

funding of Hezbollah and other proxies throughout the region. And it would deal with other aspects of nuclear ambitions and tighter ambitionless. So,

it's a much broader deal that Netanyahu wants in place, given that seems unlikely with the unwillingness of quite a few players here to rework the

deal, to renegotiate the deal. Again, it seems to be Netanyahu pushing for the nix it approach at this point, especially over the last few days and

couple of weeks.

KINKADE: Yes, certainly sounds that way. Oren Liebermann, for us in Israel, good to have you with us, thanks so much.

Well, from gas prices to global security, the United States decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal could reverberate right around the world.

If the agreement collapses, it could affect huge international contracts made since sanctions were lifted. And there could be consequences for

future diplomacy such as talks with North Korea. Our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, has a unique perspective on all of

this. She joins us now from London. Always good to have you with us, Christiane. I want to first ask you about what would happen if in two-and-

a-half hours President Trump decides to withdraw from this deal. Can it survive without the U.S.?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Probably not, although everyone who is still in it will try to make it survive or try to

do what they can at least for the foreseeable future. I mean, we understand that if sanctions are re-imposed, American sanctions, not UN or

other global sanctions. But if the United States re-imposes sanctions it could take several months to take effect. However, the question really is,

does the U.S. imposing sanctions act as a block to all sorts of financial institutions, banking institutions, so-called third-party institutions,

that would scare off business from other countries, that also do business with the U.S. It's quite complicated but it's expected it could have a

chilling effect. Just by the U.S. re-imposing sanctions.

Now, if that happens, either Iran will pull out of the deal and cease to even try to make it work, with the remaining signatories of the deal, and

it will, it says, go back to its status quo ante, which is enriching uranium. Now remember, that is what brought us to this position in the

first place. The world, including the Prime Minister of Israel was very anxious about the enriching capacity of Iran. And I might add, enriching

capacity that continues under the most stringent global sanctions that have ever been imposed on any country.

[11:35:00] That I what the United Nations, America and the world did for the many, many years leading up to the signing of the deal in 2015. These

were enormously difficult and hard sanctions. And they had an effect on Iran's economy. But it kept the regime in power. There was no regime

change. And it kept them enriching uranium. They didn't stop their centrifuges spinning. They added to the centrifuges spinning.

So, it is possible that they could go back to that. And then we're back to a situation which is total geopolitical, you know, chaos in the region.

Because if you remember, just before the deal was signed, the prevailing worry in the region was the potential of a war against Iran to try to stop

its program. All of that world war, war, war talk was very current. And the real issue right now, of course, is, what does Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu has as a plan B and what does President Trump or Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. The group of countries which oppose this deal.

What is their plan B? There isn't one at the moment.

KINKADE: Yes, there certainly isn't. Iran, though, is still considered to be the biggest state sponsor of terror in the world, according to U.S.

State Department. What has Iran done to warrant the ripping up of this deal. How is it behaving in the region?

AMANPOUR: Well, those are two different questions. Because on the one issue that's correct. They are accused globally of being big sponsors of

terror because of their support of Hezbollah. Because of Hamas and all those actors, bad actors around the region. And also, of course, no one

particularly appreciates their role in Syria, bolstering the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad. That is all true. Plus, their ballistic

missile tests.

The problem with the complaints on that is that it was never part of the original. The original deal was just about what everyone in the world

considered to be the worst danger and that was Iran's nuclear program. This deal contains Iran's nuclear program. It does not address the other

issues. The hope was that sometime in the future, maybe as trust is rebuilt or things change politically in Iran, you could actually add to it

and get a better deal on all those other issues.

But this particular deal, formerly known as the JCPOA or JPCOA, whatever it is, the Iran nuclear deal, only dealt with its nuclear activities. And

what it gives is a very, very intensive inspection on Iran's nuclear activities and Iran's, you know, not doing the kind of enrichment and other

such programs that they had before the deal was signed.

KINKADE: And Christiane, this decision by President Trump later today comes weeks before he is due to meet with the North Korean leader to

discuss North Korea's nuclear ambitions and to try to form a deal there. How will North Korea view all this when it sees the U.S. perhaps changing a

policy from one administration to the next?

AMANPOUR: Well, there is a very, very, very, very tiny minority view that says North Korea might get really scared by Donald Trump's pulling back

from the Iran nuclear deal, if, indeed he does. Let's wait to see what he says in a few hours. That they might learn that, you know, this is

something that they have to watch out for, this unpredictable hard line President and therefore they better, you know, shimmy up to the table and

you know, and bend over, basically.

There's another group, a much bigger group of those who have actually negotiated these kinds of things, who understand the technical difficulties

and the implication of all this and the economic implications who say that, you know, in the end, it might cause North Korea not to be as forthcoming.

It might force them to strike a bargain which is, you know, not necessarily one they would abide by. And it might certainly cause them not to be so

forthcoming in an agreement with the U.S.

Because the fact of the matter is, that all these countries want is access to the world economy. That's what the Iran nuclear deal was to give Iran.

And that is what the United States was committed to under this deal. To allowing Iran to reintegrate into the global economy. That's what North

Korea wants. And if it sees that it can sign a deal, give up its nuclear program, which it may not. It may really from the get-go think about

cheating. That it would simply not have the economic benefits that it was supposed to get maybe six months, a year, two years down the line.

KINKADE: All right. Christiane Amanpour, always great to get your perspective. We will be tuning into for your analysis later today when

President Trump announces that decision. Thanks so much.

Well, best wishes of a speedy recovery are pouring for soccer legend, Sir Alex Ferguson. The renowned football manager is currently in intensive

care recovering from emergency brain surgery. His former club, Manchester United, says the procedure went well. CNN's "WORLD SPORT" Alex Thomas

joins us now from Manchester, England.

[11:40:00] And Alex, I understand he is showing signs of improvement.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT: No official word on what Alex Ferguson's condition is, Lynda. The latest we had it what the club said on Saturday.

As you mentioned, that the operation went well. They will tell us when they get the first official news of how Sir Alex Ferguson is. But they're

waiting to hear it from the family. Who have an updated them since Saturday we are told.

But one glimmer of light for Ferguson's many legions of fans across the globe and that is media reports suggesting that the friends of the family

have mentioned that Ferguson is awake and speaking. We are unable to confirm that. Many people refusing to press the family for more details

just out of respect for them and for his achievements. Because the family have asked for their privacy to be respected. And that's what we've seen

in those tributes that you've mentioned, Lynda, pouring in from across the globe, from former players like, David Beckham, Cristiano Rinaldo, the

world footballer of the year and Real Madrid staff, the world governing body. Even rivals, Liverpool and Manchester City football clubs who didn't

like Ferguson on the pitch. He often beat them more than they beat him but understand that this is a very serious situation for an absolute legend in

his sport.

KINKADE: He certainly is a legend. And it's good to see those tributes pouring in. And hopefully we hear a more official update on his condition

soon. Alex Thomas good to have you with us. Thank you.

Well, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. But still to come divine fashions from New York. As the stars descends on the red carpet at the Met

gala. Will paid a visit next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (voice-over): Greece, best known for its iconic ruins in the Mediterranean Sea. But in recent years

there was a deep recession which captured the world's attention. This is what the heart of Athens looked like during the dark days of the Greek debt

crisis. And this is Syntagma Square today enjoying a period of renewal triggered in part by property demand. George Kormas, the CEO of Piraeus

Bank Real Estate, showed me a renovated building where his team sold two floors for $1.8 million.

GEORGE KORMAS, CEO, PIRAEUS UP REAL ESTATE: This is a good example of the future of real estate at least in downtown Athens.

DEFTERIOS: Selling nonperforming assets belonging to the bank, Kormas, is out to modernize the sector with the country's first commercial online real

estate sales and auction platform. So far, more than 10 percent were snapped up by international buyers from the U.S. to China.

KORMAS: If we manage to increase the awareness of the international community, I'm sure that this percentage will significantly increase.

[11:45:04] DEFTERIOS: Behind the presidential palace, a high-end apartment, purchased online by a buyer in New York, 220 square meters for

over $900,000.

(on camera): There is a separate e-auction platform that has courted controversy, as far as a debt bailout, the government agreed to sell

130,000 residential and commercial properties by 2022. Dealing with foreclose ahead of an expected election in 2019 has become politically

sensitive.

(voice-over): Married couple and international architect, Katerina Samsarelou and Domenico Piemonte (ph), sensed opportunity in the capital.

Leaving Barcelona, they bought this apartment in now trendy Koukaki.

KATERINA SAMSARELOU, ARCHITECT AND OWNER: It's next to a museum. Next to local police. With a phenomenon of Airbnb for sure, it's one of the first

neighborhoods that will go up.

DEFTERIOS: The couple says occupancy is running at 70 percent. Hitting 95 percent during peak months. Back inside Piraeus Bank HQ promised

illustrated why the internet can do something else for Greece.

KORMAS: We are selling transparency in secured way to complete the transaction and this platform is actually the beginning of a new era.

DEFTERIOS: Admittedly the early days of that new era. The time to tap international buyers at the start of Greece's recovery. John Defterios,

one square meter, Athens.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KINKADE: You are watching CNN, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.

Well, I want to go to some jaw-dropping video out of Hawaii. Take a look at this sea of lava making its way across the road. Gnawing through

everything in its past. Officials say activity from the Kilauea volcano has subsided, but lava and toxic gas continues to threaten residents. And

on top of that hundreds of earthquakes have been rattling nerves. Stephanie Elam has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rivers of smoldering lava threatening Hawaii's big island. The red-hot magma spewing up through

fissures that have emerged since the eruption of the Kilauea volcano has ravaged roads and destroyed dozens of structures. Watch this time lapse

show the all-consuming flow of the lava as it slowly creeps across the road engulfing a parked car, leaving a smoky black trail in its wake.

More lava spilling through neighborhoods, turning lush green island vegetation to walls of blacken rock. At least 1,700 people in Leilani

Estates and Lanipuna Gardens have had to evacuate.

[11:50:00] (on camera): Tell me what it was like when you first saw lava coming out right by your house?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was bionic, really orange. The highest splatter I saw personally was 60-feet tall. Which is pretty big.

ELAM (voice-over): Add to that potentially deadly volcanic gases. The eruptions have released high levels of sulfur dioxide into the air. And

then there are the Big Island earthquakes. More than 1,300 in the last week alone. From a helicopter, we can see where all of this began, and the

destruction is massive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via helicopter): That big crater, that is Pu Oo.

ELAM: To the south the Pu Oo vent of Kilauea collapsed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via helicopter): So that used to be almost flat on top, two craters up there, it almost collapsed into on big hole.

ELAM: Some residents in Leilani Estates have been allowed to return temporarily to check on their homes, but the threat and the uncertainty

remains.

DEBBIE AGBAYANI, RESIDENT: Just watching everybody come out of there with all their things, and it's so sad. It's just so sad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: That was Stephanie Elam reporting there.

Well, the U.S. first lady is enjoying surging approval numbers in rolling out an ambitious new platform. Melania Trump says she wants children to be

free of bullying and who treat each other with respect and compassion. We have more now from CNN's Kate Bennett?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Monday was a big day for first lady, Melania Trump. She announced her formal platform of

initiatives titled "Be Best." It basically falls into three categories of helping kids, something Melania Trump has said she's wanted to do for the

past several months.

One of the focuses is on opioid addiction and the crisis in the country and how it affects kids and families. The second part of "Be Best" is about

emotional well-being and physical well-being of children. And the third focuses on social media. Of course, being more positive online and try to

stop cyber bullying.

The first lady has taken on criticism for tackling the cyber bullying issue, considering her husband Donald Trump is clearly a prolific user of

Twitter. And he's often used it to call people names and express negative attitude and behavior. And as he sat in the front row watching his wife

speak about this topic, it was sort of interesting to hear her talk about how adults need to set a good example online with him sitting right there.

However, she moved forward this. This is something she said despite criticism she was going to do and the fact that her husband is a prolific

tweeter wasn't going to stop her from doing what she felt was the right thing when it comes to children and cyber bullying and being positive on

social media.

The first lady's announcement of her platform came on a big day in terms of polling. She surged in popularity, according to a new CNN poll. Which

puts her at 57 percent favorability ranking. That's up 10 points from January when she was at 47 percent. She is and remains the most liked

member of the Trump family. Some people are saying that perhaps the new poll numbers have something to do with more invisible profile in the past

couple of weeks with the state dinner. That white hat that we all saw her wear. Others are saying it could be a bit of a sympathy vote. She is up

among Democrats and women.

And since the Stormy Daniels and other salacious headlines facing her husband, those stories have broken in the news, a lot of people are feeling

and paying a little more attention to Melania Trump what she may or may not be going through as these stories have been splashed across headlines for

the past several months. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, in today's parting shots a feast for your eyes. We go to fashion's hottest events of the year the Met Gala in New York. To take a

closer look at the stars gracing the sacred carpet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE (voice-over): The 2018 event proved heaven is a place on earth. And apparently that place is New York on a Monday night. Thanks to the

theme of heavenly bodies, fashion and the Catholic imagination, many of the stars attending were eager converts to the theme forsaking sleek looks to

channel the divine with highly embellished clothing.

PRIYANKA CHOPRA, ACTRESS: I'm wearing Ralph Lauren again. And I'm really excited with the interpretation of the theme this year. I think it's

really beautiful and elegant.

TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, ACTRESS: The third Sunday of lent the clergy wears pink for the coming joy and that is what I'm wearing. Pink for the coming joy.

TREVOR NOAH, HOST DAILY SHOW: It's a Balmain creation. Inspired by a Roman Catholic murals and crosses, old school and modern at the same time.

KINKADE: One of the youngest fashion designers there aged just 19.

KATYA EKIMIAN, DESIGNER: It's been so much fun and honestly, I've best tried to enjoy every single second of it.

KINKADE: The exhibition at the museum features 25 galleries. The highlight, 40 master works, many of which never traveled outside the

Vatican before.

[11:55:00] One person absent from the sacred carpet was President Donald Trump once a frequent guest, but Anna Wintour decreed last October that the

current president would never be invited to a gala again. Talk about a divine intervention.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, from fashion to foreign policy, we have it on our Facebook page. That's at Facebook.com/CNNConnect. You can watch all our reports,

including all the latest on the Iran nuclear deal and what U.S. President Trump plans to do with it.

I'm Lynda Kinkade, and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. From our team here in Atlanta, in London and in Abu Dhabi, thanks so much for joining us. The

news continues right here on CNN with "QUEST EXPRESS" up next. I'll see you tomorrow.

END