Return to Transcripts main page


Football Team, Coach and Rescuers Out of Thai Cave; British Prime Minister Pressing Ahead with New Plan; Harsh World for Allies Ahead of Brussels Summit; Iranian Teen Arrested for Posting Video of Herself Dancing; France, Belgium Vie for Spot in Final Game of World Cup. Aired 11- 12p ET

Aired July 10, 2018 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi where it is 7:00 p.m. in the


Well, they are out, and they are safe after 18 grueling days trapped inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand. The young football team and their

coach have all been rescued. Divers evacuated the four remaining boys just a short time ago. The 25-year-old coach was last one to be rescued. The

rescuers, three remaining divers and a doctor followed them out. Well, the Thai Navy SEAL's just posted this photo once they were all out of the cave.

The boys, well they are now all in hospital. Some of them have been able to see their families, but only through a glass window as they could be

prone to infection.

We've got this story covered from all angles. CNN's Matt Rivers is live outside that hospital in Chiang Rai. But let's begin with our Ivan Watson

who is near the opening of the cave. And Ivan, it's over, and many of us wondered whether we'd ever be able to report that light. Astonishing by

any measure.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and just a wonderful story as the commander of the rescue operation just said moments

ago, they've turned what everybody thought was impossible, into mission possible. Mission possible referring to the rescue of 12 boys, and their

coach who were trapped for more than two weeks at a distance of four kilometers down a network of treacherous tunnels and caves. In a little

cavern, cut off from the outside world by floodwaters as a result of the monsoon rains here. And not only were the last of that football team

rescued in the last couple of hours, Becky, but then the brave Navy SEAL's who went in and stayed for more than a week, in that cramped air pocket,

that cramped cave where the boys had ended up, they have now emerged.

And that photo on the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page really says it all. These real living heroes, wearing sunglasses, surgical masks, still I

believe their wetsuits with thumbs up. The sunglasses, if the experience that we've seen with the previous boys is an indicator, probably to protect

them from the light. Because they've been deployed from the natural light for more than a weeks. Surgical masks because there is concern about their

health after this long period trapped underground. They're now out and we believe that everybody is out of harm's way now. And this has been a

remarkable, remarkable multinational rescue operation.

The commander of it giving thanks saying it required more than a 100 people, an Australian doctor, there were U.S. military personnel, a search-

and-rescue team on the ground, international divers, there was British divers who initially found the kids. So, an incredible international

effort and then the commander of the operation had this rather stern quote. Let this be a lesson to learn. Let's hope this does not happen again --


ANDERSON: This was undeniably a really risky mission. Wasn't it? Let's just remind those who are watching, just what sort of challenge these

rescuers faced.

WATSON: Well, the commission commander, he called during a press conference that ended here at the municipal office here in Mae Sai just

moments ago. He called on the crowd to give a round of applause to Sergeant Sam, that's the nickname for the former Thai Navy SEAL diver who

volunteered and rushed here to join in the rescue effort. And died in the tunnels, when his air ran out last week. Calling him a true hero. So, I

think that underscores the extreme risk, the bravery of the people who were involved in this rescue effort. The fact that one of those Thai Navy SEALs

gave his life to try to insure the safe escape of the boys who were trapped down there for so many days and nights.

[11:05:04] ANDERSON: Ivan Watson near the mouth of the caves. Matt very close to the hospital where as I understand it, Matt, the boys remain in

isolation. Their families only able to see them through a glass screen. Any details on their condition at this point?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, that's the big outstanding question here, Becky. And really the reason that people can't celebrate completely

in the sense that we don't know exactly how these boys are. They haven't been given a condition quite yet, and we know that they are now in the same

ward, however, as the eight people who have already been rescued. And what we're hoping for is that the conditions of boys 9, 10, 11 and 12, plus the

coach mirrors the conditions that we now know about the first eight boys that were rescued. They are doing pretty well, all things considered at

the moment.

They came in with some issues, Becky, they came in, five of them of the eight had low body temperatures, two had long infections. But they were

given immediate treatment. They responded well to that treatment. And now doctors are saying they are doing pretty well. They're asking for

chocolate. They say they're hungry. But we know that they're on a restricted diet for obvious reasons. They need to be slowly reintroduced

to solid food. So, the hope here is that the conditions of the boys that have now been put into that hospital, who have just been rescued today, the

coach that was just rescued today. The hope is that it can mirror the conditions of those first eight that were rescued.

ANDERSON: Now what we know, Matt, is if they are well enough, they are out in time to watch the World Cup finals on Sunday. It's a football team and

these boys are massive soccer fans, aren't they?

WATSON: Yes, absolutely. And there's an interesting little detail in there. They haven't been allowed to put on TV right now. Because if

you're watching any TV in Thailand right now, you are getting news about this rescue operation and we don't know how much the boys know about the

operation. We don't know exactly if they know, for example, that the Thai Navy SEAL, a former Navy SEAL, lost his life while trying to help in this

operation by bringing oxygen in. So, they don't want to expose the boys to too much right now and give them too much.

But we do know, Becky, that they are planning to let these boys watch the World Cup. Unfortunately, even though FIFA invited them, they won't be

allowed out of quarantine to make it to the World Cup final. They won't get out of time. But we do know they're going to be able to watch. And

you have to imagine that's just going to be best football game, football match that they've ever seen.

ANDERSON: Yes, whoever's in that final, of course. Matt, finally, any reaction at this point from the families?

RIVERS: What we're talking to -- we haven't gotten the reaction from the parents quite yet. I know that we have CNN teams out reporting in this

area right now as we speak. I know we've spoken to the aunt of some of the boys. I know we've spoken to the grandmother of some of the boys and as

you imagine people are absolutely thrilled. They said they lost sleep for weeks on end. They can't believe that they're at this point. As you might

imagine, unbridled happiness right now. And that's something that's been shared by this entire community.

Real quick, Becky, when we were watching the last two ambulances come in -- ambulance 12 and 13 carry a final boy and the coach -- people were

cheering. They came right down behind me, and locals here, neighbors in this area came out because they figured out this is the path of the

ambulance and they were cheering. They were clapping and applauding, as those ambulances came to the hospital. That gives you an idea of how much

this community has invested in this team and is just overjoyed at the results. At least that we know so far.

ANDERSON: As is the rest of the watching public around the world this is a story that has touched everybody from Thailand, to Timbuktu, to Tallahassee

in the States. Is not where the U.S. President was, he's now on his way to Europe.

As he was leaving the U.S., he tweeted on behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of

the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand. Such a beautiful moment all freed, great job.

And Ivan, I believe you've got somebody with you, to speak to the U.S.'s reaction. And their involvement in what has been this multinational


WATSON: That's right. A multinational effort and I'm now joined by Captain Jessica Tait from U.S. Pacific Command here with the U.S. Air

Force. And Captain, you were part of a team that rushed in here to try to help with this multinational operation. Can you kind of tell me what the

U.S. military personnel were involved in? How they were contributing to this remarkable rescue?

CAPTAIN JESSICA TAIT, SPOKESWOMAN, U.S. RESCUE EFFORT: It really is remarkable. We've been here for two weeks, and since we've been here,

we've supported our Thai partners, as well as the international search and rescue teams that came here.

[11:10:04] And the mission, I mean the fact that the success we're so thrilled. Our role during the execution phase, really was to be in chamber

3, to provide operational command and control to the Thai Navy SEALs and the international dive experts, that transported the children and coach

from chamber 9 to chamber 3.

WATSON: Tell me, where was chamber 3, roughly? Can you remind our viewers where it was and what kind of a role was, what was going on there exactly?

TAIT: Well that was kind of an area where you were able to stand so it wasn't exactly dive operations, but when you think about the most difficult

portion, being able to have a hand-off, and be able to escort and transfer the children to the Thai medical authorities at the entrance to the cave.

That was pretty critical. You also have to think about -- we're in the military, operational command and control is the bread and butter of what

we do. Being able to relay messages, insure that equipment is staged, and restaged appropriately. Because this is a multiday Thai-led operation.

WATSON: And tell me about some of the, some of the resupply that was going on. I mean, you had to be presumably moving tanks of air. Down, maybe

stationing them places for the divers as they came out with the kids, right?

TAIT: I mean, we played a proactive role in that staging. We had the manpower. Our team of now U.S., probably about 40 U.S. personnel all hands

were on deck. Whether you were a diver or whether you were a support personnel, a medic, you are helping bring food down. Are were helping

stage dive equipment and resetting it for every phase of this operation.

WATSON: And did you witness some of the rescues? Did you see some of the divers come out? What went through --

TAIT: No. Sorry.

WATSON: No, you didn't.

TAIT: Our team, our team there on the ground, they absolutely were there for all parts of it and it's really been incredible. You know, being able

to see the Thai officials as well as all the international effort here on the ground come together to be able to support this. I know everyone is


WATSON: All right. Captain Jessica Tate. Please stick around, because I want to ask more questions. But yes, this is an example of how really

countries, governments, people from around the world came in at this really unique moment to try to ensure that these boys made it out safely -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan Watson's very close to the cave. Matt, very close to the hospital. To both of you, thank you and thank you for spending the time,

the hours, the days, keeping us bang up to date with exactly what has been going on. It's a really good story to be able to report on. Thanks guys.

Well, there is never really a good time, is there, to be heading off a political thunderstorm. But this one couldn't have been cooking up at a

worse time for Britain's leader. Right now, wherever you go in the U.K., you can hear this -- the metaphorical tick-tock, countdown to Brexit. Now

less than nine short months away. And still at this hour, no one knows exactly how it is going to work. Least of all the government itself.

Monday, to more big names, Johnson and Davies, having to jump ship. Just hours ago, though, it was all smiles at Downing Street as the government

does what it can, keeps calm and carries on. It's enough to make your head spin, isn't it? Or explode or both. To connect it all up for us, Nina dos

Santos is right outside Britain's all-powerful Parliament for us this evening. And Nina, what doesn't kill you in politics, well it can hurt a

lot. But it may make you stronger, too. We are connecting the front pages of two of Britain's biggest selling newspapers, the "Guardian" on the left

here, claiming the Prime Minister facing the rebels down for now. The "Daily Mail," over on the right, the Johnson going in for the kill.

This Conservative Party that Theresa May runs, always too happy to eat its young as it were. But right now, two big nay-sayers to the P.M.'s ideas

out of her way. Is she stronger than she was before?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She's still on shaky ground here, Becky, because we don't yet know whether other prominent leavers may well

decide to jump ship as well. One big question people have is whether or not the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, will decide to follow the

likes of Boris Johnson. He's said that he doesn't want that to happen. He's 100 percent behind the Prime Minister. But you know, the problem with

the current conservative government is that people say one thing one minute and then decide to do something the next minute. And that's exactly how we

got into this position at the start of this week.

We had the Chequers agreement, the famous agreement when Theresa May had managed to rally her cabinet around and her country residence on Friday,

put them in lockdown and get them to agree to a softer version of Brexit than many of them wanted to.

[11:15:08] They all said that was fine. And then come Sunday evening, David Davies precipitated this crisis in government by abruptly stepping

down, saying he couldn't back this particular softer version of Brexit that she was likely to put before Brussels.

So, the big question we have now is will this government hold by the end of the week? Because of course, remember we have NATO coming up, which is a

huge summit and the U.K. is obviously a huge part of the NATO operators. And then of course, the U.K. is hosting U.S. President, Donald Trump for

his big visit, towards the end of the week. And speaking of which, Donald Trump was specifically asked whether he thought Theresa May should still be

leader of the U.K. I believe we can listen to his answer -- Becky.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well that's up to the people. I get along with her very well, I have a very good relationship.

That's certainly up to the people.


DOS SANTOS: What's so interesting about that answer, Becky, is that he gave almost a very similar answer, perhaps even a slightly warmer answer

when he was asked about Boris Johnson as well. And he floated the idea of even though Boris Johnson may no longer be in the cabinet, or indeed the

government, he might stop by and have a cup of tea with him when he was in the U.K. on his visit later in the week. That you can bet won't have gone

down well with number 10.

ANDERSON: Oh, no. You're absolutely right. That's probably an understatement in not going down well. She'll be furious about that I'm

sure. Boris Johnson writing in his resignation letter that the Brexit dream was dying. Before we get your thoughts on whether you think kid is

dying or dead as a dodo as it were. Let's hear from the CNN talk panel from a little earlier today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The British government is in turmoil at a pivotal moment in the history of the West after the Cold War.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The British government unfortunately is being mugged by reality. And that is indeed the journey that Theresa May has been on

ever since she started taking charge of the Brexit negotiations.


ANDERSON: Is the Brexit dream dead -- Nina? Whatever that means, by the way.

DOS SANTOS: It's certainly turned into a nightmare at the moment. It's looking also like a bit of a pipe dream. At least the type of Brexit that

some people would have wanted. Particularly when it comes to those so- called hardline Brexiteers who want a complete break with the European Union. Because they say that that's the only way that the U.K. will be

able to go it alone and forge its own trading relationships with other big economies, like for instance, the United States.

And of course, we have the U.S. President here, towards the end of the week. The U.K. would love to be in a position to be able to start

immediate trade discussions with the world's biggest economy. But at the moment, because it's still shackled to the EU, legally it cannot start

those type of negotiations. So, some of those hardline pro-Brexit members of the government would like to see a clean break to go back to World Trade

Organization rules. That could be very expensive for the average person on the street, Becky. And many businesses fear that it could totally wreck

the U.K.'s economy.

ANDERSON: Nina dos Santos is outside Parliament. As ever, thank you for connecting all the dots here for us. Always a pleasure.

Still to come, Donald Trump once again rips up the diplomatic rule book ahead of his trip to Europe. Criticizing America's allies and giving yet

another nod to Vladimir Putin. Details on that, up next.



TRUMP: Though I have NATO, I have the U.K. which is in somewhat turmoil and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who

would think? Who would think?


ANDERSON: Who would think? Donald Trump there with a perhaps alarming assessment of how he feels with his upcoming trip and how it may pan out.

The U.S. President spoke to reporters before he left for Europe earlier on today. Where he has a packed schedule. He's in Brussels tomorrow. That

is Wednesday. For what will likely be a very tense NATO summit. Then he heads to the U.K., for talks with the embattled Prime Minister, and to meet

with the Queen. Finally, rounding off the trip with that meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Monday. I think there's a weekend in

between that he will be playing golf as I understand it in Scotland.

Well earlier today, the U.S. President renewed his criticism of NATO defense spending. Tweeting out, NATO countries must pay more. The United

States must pay less. Very unfair, exclamation mark.

White House reporter -- regular guest on the show -- Stephen Collinson is of course, all of this from Washington for us. On the NATO trip, we've got

a perspective here from the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk tweeting to Trump that Washington quote, doesn't have and won't have a

better ally than the European Union.

We've heard what Donald Trump has said. His complaints about NATO. He is conflated the spending that the U.S. -- the amount that NATO costs the U.S.

-- with the amount of trade for the U.S. does with Europe and what Europe makes out of that. A lot of smiley faces. So, lots of virtual posturing

and digital digs before the summit. Stephen, in real life, how do you think this will all play out?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It's very interesting, there's one school of thought that the President is being tough now, and

when gets to NATO, he'll claim credit for rising spending among NATO allies and say this is a big victory. I think that tends to go against the grain

of everything Trump believes, and you know, shows that he thinks. Those comments outside the White House this morning were exactly the reason why

people like Donald Tusk and other European leaders are very, very concerned about the summit.

Basically, what he did was he took new shots at U.S. allies. He hinted that U.S. military calculations in Europe could change if European nations

don't pay more. And he gave a pass to President Vladimir Putin. That's one of the reasons why many people believe that Trump is already

undermining not just the NATO alliance, but the whole concept of the West. You know NATO, relies on the principle of common defense and everybody

getting together to make everyone else stronger. Donald Trump sees NATO and the West purely as a financial calculation. That the U.S. is not

getting its money's worth. He doesn't see the value of a wider, pro- American alliance of market democracies and you know, western values. And I think that's the reason why there's so many tensions in the alliance

right now.

ANDERSON: So that's fascinating. I mean -- at this point I don't think we are witnessing a NATO being obsolete going forward. But certainly, it's

fascinating to see just how he is treating this alliance. He'll go from Brussels to the U.K. where he'll be feted at Blenheim Palace and Windsor

Castle. Protests are expected in London. He will swerve, by the way, on this schedule.

Do you reflect on the special relationship? Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump after he took office and this image captured

the headlines back in January last year. A firm grasp, not just of how important the visit was, but also of Theresa May's hand.

[11:25:00] Stephen, he understands optics. You're suggesting it's not that he doesn't necessarily understand alliances. He just sees them on a

completely transactional basis. Correct? And we knew that. We knew that during this campaign -- pre-November 2016 -- and it is absolutely clear

that he is sticking by what he said during that campaign. This is Donald Trump, this is Donald Trump, the businessman.

COLLINSON: Yes, and you know, it was very interesting. So, what basically happened when Donald Trump took office. Theresa May was one of the first

leaders over here as you said, but not just May, Macron of France. When he was elected. German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They all basically took the

position was that they could reason with Donald Trump. That by talking to him, he would see the benefits of strong alliances across the Atlantic. He

would come around to a more conventional way of thinking. He might be perhaps erratic and unpredictable. But in the end, he would view America's

interests through the same prism as every American President since the end of the Second World War has viewed them. That has turned out not to be the


Donald Trump hasn't changed at all in fact he's become more wedded to his beliefs. Which he expressed way before he ever thought of running for

President, back in the 1980s. The system of global alliances through which the America has projected its power is in fact a huge waste of money and

proof that people are freeloading off the generosity of the United States, not just in Europe and in Asia. So, while you know, foreign leaders --

remember the trip Macron, the French President had, a few months ago in Washington when he was holding hands with Trump and they were hugging and

embracing? How did that work out? You know, the United States still pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal which is hugely important to Europe.

So, I think there's a very strong sort of argument that you can't change Trump and it's now time for European leaders to start reevaluating their

approach to him.

ANDERSON: Yes. It was only weeks after that that he went to the G7, of course, blew that up. Some people say he may blow up this NATO meeting and

indeed, the alliance. And he's off to Russia where he thinks things just may be easier. It may be the easiest stop on what is this relatively long

tour for Donald Trump. You and I will be talking a lot over the next week or so. For the time being, you are a pleasure, sir. Stephen Collinson

insightful as always, out of Washington.

Let's get you a very quick break. Draw a breath. Back after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.

Another major story that we are tracking for you this hour. More than 70,000 rescue workers are desperately searching for survivors in the wake

of the worst flooding to hit Japan in decades. At least 155 people have died and two million, two million have been evacuated from the hardest hit

parts of western Japan. Kaori Enjoji has the latest.


KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: The death toll continues to mount here in Japan and they're calling this the worst disaster Japan has seen in 30 years that

is rain related. Rescuers searched through mud and flowing rivers as they tried to search for survivors in this devastation that has taken a tragic

toll on Japan over the last four days.

Evacuations are still in place in many of these areas, although the rain has subsided in many of them. Thousands of people spent the night in

evacuation shelters and are likely to do so again tonight. There are tens of thousands of more people on the list for areas that are vulnerable to

more landslides. Because the mud and the land has been made so weak as a result of this torrential flooding.

The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has canceled a trip he was planning to make later on this week. He will be visiting some of the hardest-hit areas on

Wednesday. He has called on more troops and firefighters and police personnel to try and research for rescuers. Some 73,000 people are

involved in the rescue operation. It's a difficult task particularly because of the intense heat in some of these areas, temperatures hitting 35

degrees in some of the most heavily hit areas across southwestern Japan.

The residents are trying to get back to normal. They're wading through water to try to get back to their homes to try and clean up. But this has

also been a very difficult task. Water is still not available to close to 270,000 homes in Japan. Many of them still don't have electricity and

telecommunications phone lines have been shut off over the last four days in some of these areas as well. So, no doubt for many of the people still

looking for loved ones and spending yet a night in some of these evacuation shelter. It will another nervous night on day four on this tragedy here in

Japan. That's the latest, I'm Kaori Enjoji.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. I'm Becky Anderson. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. And coming up, this is an average teenager in Iran. But now she

has been arrested. Her crime? Well exactly what you're seeing, dancing on social media. And her experience, well it is not an isolated incident.

More on that after this.


ANDERSON: Well, a teenager has been arrested in Iran after posting videos of herself dancing to music on social media. Reports say Maedeh appeared

on state television and admitted that she broke Iran's moral code. It isn't clear if her statement was forced. Well, many Iranians have taken to

Twitter to protester her arrest. Other women have posted videos of themselves dancing under the hashtag #dancingisnotacrime. And it's not the

first-time youngsters in Iran have gotten into trouble, serious trouble for doing things that seem quite normal to the rest of us. A lot of us

elsewhere in the world. And 2014, six young Iranians were arrested for this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (Dancing with music)


ANDERSON: Making a video dancing to the hit pop song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. Activists say, well authorities accuse the group of quote,

participating in and producing a vulgar video clip. And conducting quote, illicit relations.

Well, Reihane Taravati was one of the women you saw in that clip. She received a 12-month suspended sentence and suspended lashes. I spoke with

Reihane. Have a listen to this.


ANDERSON: What was your reaction when you heard the news. About Maedeh?

REIHANE TARAVATI, ARRESTED OVER DANCING IN VIDEO IN IRAN: I felt very angry and sad about the arrest of Maedeh. Somebody who has done nothing to

deserve an arrest and punishment. This whole thing reminded me of my own arrest. I was arrested for some unreasonable reasons as Maedeh, for

dancing and for being happy. Which is in our culture and in our blood. This has to stop. All of this arresting people for dancing and being


I think dancing is not a crime and it shouldn't be anyone's business if you want to be happy and you want to share your happiness with others. These

are all a part of our society and people have been denied for a long time.

ANDERSON: You tweeted about this story, didn't you? Saying, quote, you arrested me for being happy when I was 23. Now you arrest Maedeh and she

is only 18. What will you do to the next generation? You said. Explain your tweet and what you meant about it.

TARAVATI: I think they cannot stop the next generation because of this whole social media thing. I think me and Maedeh, that was arrested for

dancing. But I'm hopeful for the next fearless generation to come. I think this is a beautiful cover of Instagram and all of the social media

that can connect people to each other and, you know, they can learn from each other and care about each other.


ANDERSON: These protests online and on the streets of Iran getting a lot of media attention. But in a new article for the "New Yorker," Azadeh

Moaveni argues that the burgeoning feminist movement in Iran also being used by Trump White House that wants to isolate Tehran.

She writes the Trump administration has deployed the cause as part of its campaign to isolate the Islamic Republic and promote regime change from the

moment that the U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal. Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, has put Iranian women at the center of the

administration's new strategy.

Azadeh joining me live via Skype from Cambridge. Why do you think Washington would want to make the cause of Iranian women central to its

policy posture towards Tehran?

[11:40:00] Surely, I guess my point is, this is not a bad thing, is it?

AZADEH MOAVENI, AUTHOR AND JOURNALISH (via Skype): Well, you might think that it's not a bad thing to support something that's unequivocally a

legitimate and you know universally I think recognized as a legitimate cause, a natural cause. Young women like Reihane who you just spoke with,

demanding greater civil freedoms, rights to dress.

Where it becomes a problem, Becky is how it becomes very cynically exploited as part of a wider strategy to ultimately really with the regime

change crew back in the White House, to have a regime change in Iran. So, what it is if you have natural cracks or a natural fissures that you have

in a country that's 80 million people, very educated. A lot of pressure from the youth for change. Exploiting these natural cracks for the sake of

advancing what's really a very cynical strategy. Sanctions, renewed sanctions, the economic strangulation of Iran. Really and Rudy Giuliani

said it very openly. You know provoking protests, the U.S. playing a role in that to ultimately bring down the regime. Which is a prospect that's

terrifying to Iranians, women and men alike.

ANDERSON: He wrote for women's activists inside the country, the protests were just the latest clash in a long struggle for equality. Which started

around the time of the Iranian revolution in 1979. When the Islamic Republic imposed dress codes, requiring women to cover their bodies and


The fight for equal rights is not new in Iran. But how do you think these latest social media-fueled protests can be different? And do you think

they're reaching a wider crowd this time around?

MOAVENI: I think Iranians have been on the internet ever since the internet existed. It was very popular for Iranians to blog. The

blogosphere was very early. So, to be online, to be plugged in is kind of part of being an Iranian youth. I think it does create a kind of

international pressure that the regime that the government in Iran is sensitive to. But at the same time, it's very dangerous for young women

themselves. Because when you have Rudy Giuliani and the Trump administration and Bolton calling for regime change and supporting women

through the State Department Twitter feed every day, well, a very nervous naturally security service in Iran starts to conflate the idea of women's

activism, civil disobedience, Instagram activists, with people plotting to overthrow the government.

So, it securitizes what is a very natural kind of act of civil disobedience. This is what social media has done since its inception, but

it securitizes it. And it ends up putting activists, young women at risk and undermining their cause.

ANDERSON: Well it's a terrific article you wrote. Viewers, it's well worth a read. Azadeh Moaveni, in an Iranian American journalist and writer

joining us from Cambridge in the U.K. today. Many thanks.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD.

Up next, Don Riddell will plug you into the biggest sports news. Including some breaking news about a certain Portuguese football star and his next

Italian job. Stay with us.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Hello there and welcome to CNN world sport. I'm Don Riddell. Breaking news as we begin this show. Within the last few

minutes, Real Madrid have said that their megastar striker Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving and that he's expected to be unveiled at the Italian

Champions Juventus later this Tuesday. The transfer fee is reportedly 105 million pounds. That's around $139 million U.S. dollars. We'll have more

on this for you as more details throughout the day.

Within the next couple of hours, we're anticipating an absorbing World Cup semifinal between France and Belgium in St. Petersburg. Two of the most

exciting teams at this tournament going head to head with many of Europe's top players on show. It's Belgium's so-called golden generation against a

team hoping to emulate France's World Cup triumph from 1998.

The man who captained Les Bleus back then, Didier Deschamps is now hoping to lead them to glory, of course, once again. But he will face stiff

competition from neighbors Belgium. Who are bidding for their first World Cup title ever. The winner will go on to play either England or Croatia on

the final on Sunday. The second semifinal will be played on Wednesday.

Here's a quick look at how tonight's opponents match up. France have an enormous amount of talent in their ranks, especially up front. The likes

of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have both scored three goals each so far at this tournament after a rather lackluster group stage. France

sensationally have dumped Argentina out in the last 16 and then they beat Uruguay to get here.

Belgium, meanwhile, have been equally impressive, especially in the latter stages. They are the highest-ranked team left and they're the top scorers

in Russia this year. Having dumped Brazil out in the last round, expectation is now high for this generation of players to lead Belgium to

their first world title.

Our man Alex Thomas is in St. Petersburg for the game. Alex, great to see you. Some people think this really should have been the final, it has all

the makings of a classic. What kind of encounter are you expecting?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes, I would completely agree with that I would go as far to say, Don, whichever team emerges victorious here, France

or Belgium are going to be huge favorites to lift that trophy. Maybe it's win this game and the title is yours. Although clearly England and Croatia

fans are not going to agree with me on that point. But so many dreams have been dashed on this long journey to this point where we're left with just

four games and four teams remaining in this World Cup. Don, we've seen Brazilian fans in the past, Argentinians aboard. There's all those who

bought tickets expecting to see their side here, only for them to have gone out in an event that has seen so many surprises, so many ups and downs for

many of the big teams.

And we've been taking a look around this historic city of St. Petersburg built on its series of islands. You know, it's the perfect venue for a

head of a match between two teams that can change football history. Take a look.


THOMAS: The former Windsor Palace, birthplace of the Russian revolution. France also know about kicking out the monarchy. But these days prefer to

kick around a football. And two decades after their first World Cup triumph, Les Bleus, are just one win away from a chance to do it again.

HUGO LLORIS, FRANCE GOALKEEPER (through translator): I think Belgium are the most complete team in all the possible aspects of the game during this

tournament. Because they have defense, they have attack, counterattack. They defend in the air, they are strong in everything. They have

everything they need to be a great team and they are a great team. It's a fantastic generation. And to beat them, we will have to play a great


THOMAS: In the heart of the original city center is the St. Peter and Paul fortress. And defense is often seen as a key priority for French

coach, Didier Deschamps. His dilemma, stay cautious against prolific Belgium or free up his own potential match winner Kylian Mbappe.

DIDIER DESCHAMPS , FRANCE MANAGER (through translator): I have made sure my players are prepared for any scenarios for the beginning of the match.

Any compositions and during the match as well if that changes. This is not specifically to Belgium. It can happen with any opponent.

THOMAS: Belgium's golden generation of players is as eye-catching as the dome above Saint Isaac's Cathedral. Lukaku, De Bruyne and Hazard in

particular, living up to their pretournament billing. They've gone a step here than the quarterfinal defeat of Brazil in 2014 and Euro 2016 with the

possibility of more to come.

[11:50:04] ROBERTO MARTINEZ, BELGIUM MANAGER: With respect immensely. The quality of France, think they understand in between the two squads are

clear. Many players play against each other in the leagues regularly. Some of the players share dressing rooms. So, I think this is the perfect

game in order to be focused and as good as you can be for this semifinal.


THOMAS: Don, despite being European neighbors, France and Belgium haven't played each other in the World Cup since 1986. That was the last year

Belgium got to the semifinals. France have been in this position five times before. The two teams that know each other so well, you've got Eden

Hazard for Belgium playing against his Chelsea teammate in Olivier Giroud. And of course, the issue of Thierry Henry, France's top goal-scorer of all

time. In that team with Deschamps that lifted the World Cup in 1998 and the European championship in 2000. But Henry on the Belgium bench and

cheering on, not his native country, but a country that just lives next door to France. So, a very strange situation in many ways, Don, but that's

going to be an interesting game.

RIDDELL: Some fascinating dynamics for sure. Alex Thomas, thanks very much.

OK the role of the coaches in both of these semifinals will be crucial, and it's rather a surprise to see many of them at this stage of the tournament.

For further analysis, our Christina MacFarlane has been speaking to the international football writer, Antony Kastrinakis.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN WORLD SPORT: Roberto Martinez has been called a tactical genius during this World Cup, which is not perhaps something he

was called in his club playing days or indeed as a coach. What has he done differently? Why has he earned that tag during this World Cup?

ANTONY KASTRINAKIS, INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL WRITER: His first match was a friendly against Spain. About two years ago. They lost 2-0. Belgium had

28 percent possession. They had basically, the new process that came in around 2006. They wanted to play 4-3-3. What Roberto said after that

match was with the players we've got, we cannot play 4-3-3. We can only play -- and he switched it to three at the back and he plays 3-4-3. Since

then they've flourished. They've gone further than they have this golden generation. Before Roberto he has more than earned his spurs and more than

shall we say rebuilt his reputation with them. A much more difficult job than at Everton. Because obviously, he left Everton.

I wouldn't call it exactly a failure, but a disappointment, a letdown. And now obviously until yesterday when Luis Enrique was appointed Spain boss.

He was basically the public and the media and Spain were clamoring for him to be appointed as the new Spain boss.

MACFARLAND: Well, his opposite number, Didier Deschamps, obviously aim to be the first man to win as a player and as a coach since Franz Beckenbauer,

of course, for Germany. He has been criticized though throughout the tournament for not getting enough out of his players, do you think that's

been justified?

KASTRINAKIS: No. Deschamps is -- you just look at his record as a manager. Forget his record as a player, which basically second to very

few. He won the Euro, he won the World Cup and the Euro as captain of France. And he was the only captain of a French club to lift of the

Champions League with Marseille in '93.

But his record as manager and I want to take a bit of time on this, on a call, he took to the Champions League final where he lost to Mourinho in

2004. That was a miracle. He knocked out the galactical of Real Madrid. Then he took Juventus back to Serie. And then of course he won the title

with Marseille for the first time in 18 years when he went to become boss of Marseille. The biggest club in France and he won the title. Not on

unlimited resources.

And he took charge of France and yes, it's been a process, he is a winner. The most important thing with Deschamps is not that he's a tactical genius,

but that you have Deschamps. Given the pre-match talk, the guy won the World Cup and one the

Euro, he's going to be addressing those players, an absolute legend. He took them to the final two years ago on home soil. It could have easily

gone the other way. So, you cannot say he's been a failure as a manager.


RIDDELL: Great insight there from Antony Kastrinakis.

With the World Cup final likely to overlap with the Wimbledon men's tennis final. Some think that's going to be a problem for tennis. But Roger

Federer sees it differently.


ROGER FEDERER, EIGHT TIME WIMBLEDON CHAMPION: Every point, wow, oh, my god. Love the team. 15-30.



RIDDELL: Welcome back. The Wimbledon's men's final is on Sunday and there is potentially a major clash of sporting schedules. The England football

team might be in the World Cup final at the same time. That's something that hasn't happened since 1966. And that game plus the men's final in

London could end up being on at the same time. Depending on how long the tennis lasts. Now clearly some sports fans will be interested in both

matches. But Wimbledon say they won't move the start time on center court and to be honest, why should they? They've been playing at Wimbledon for

way longer than the World Cup has been around. And Wimbledon is a major sports event in its own right. And the eight-time champion, Roger Federer,

actually thanks that we're looking at the whole thing from the wrong perspective.


FEDERER: Well it's going to happen, anyway, regardless of if I'm going to be in the final or not. The Wimbledon final will take place. And so, will

the World Cup final. Will take place. I'm more concerned that the World Cup final will have issues. Because the Wimbledon final is going on.

Because they will heal every point, wow, oh my god, love this team. 15-30? And then the players are going to look up in the crowd and don't understand

what's going on at Wimbledon. So -- so that's how important Wimbledon is to me. And to us over here. Maybe you should ask the questions over in

Russia how they're going to feel about Wimbledon being played at the same time.


RIDDELL: Brilliantly done. Roger Federer there. We'll out of time. I'll see you again soon.