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CONNECT THE WORLD
Iran Threatens to Breach International Nuclear Agreement; Interview with Richard Dalton, Former British Ambassador to Iran and Libya, on Iran Uranium Enrichment; Hong Kong Protests; Anti-Semitism in Europe; Israel Announces New Golan Heights Settlement Named "Trump Heights"; Bassem Youssef Returns to the Spotlight. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired June 17, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN HOST (voice-over): Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Isa Soares. It is 4 o'clock here in London. We begin with an announcement by
Iran that has the Western world on edge.
Tehran is threatening to stop complying with a key requirement of an international nuclear agreement but says European powers still have the
time to save the deal. Now it says it's ramping up enrichment of low grade uranium and will exceed the limit it's allowed to stomp out in just 10
If European countries don't find a way to stop Iran from crippling U.S. sanctions. Fred Pleitgen tells us more about Iran's effort to turn up the
pressure on European powers.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate, after the attacks on two tankers in the
Gulf of Oman, Iran also announcing it's scaling back its commitments under the nuclear agreement, drastically accelerating production of low grade
BEHROUZ KAMALVANDI, AEOI: I have said that they are hunting down in 10 days time, of course, the limitation of keeping stockpiles (INAUDIBLE)
enriched uranium inside the country and, of course, there would be other measures later on if the Europeans do not do their part.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Iran wants European countries to make good on their commitments under the deal to provide Iran with economic relief in the face
of tough U.S. sanctions.
Iran's oil exports have been all by cut off by the Trump administration's policy of maximum pressure and the U.S. reiterating its claims that Iran
was behind the tanker attack last week near the Strait of Hormuz.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It's unmistakable what happened here. These were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on commercial
shipping on the freedom of navigation with the clear intent to deny transit through the strait.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Iran verbally firing back, a senior official now saying Tehran believes the U.S. may have committed the attacks.
On the streets of Tehran, a mix of concern and defiance.
"There is a fear among the people that there might be war," this man says, "but our people would like to have stability and peace."
"America is nothing," this woman says, "whenever we talk, they don't answer us properly. There's no point in talking to them."
"Of course there are some fears," this woman says, "but we hope that the United States will moderate its hard line and I hope our government will be
more flexible so they can come to terms with each other and achieve peace."
But so far neither side seems willing to back down. Both the U.S. and Iran saying they don't want war but demanding the other side make the first move
towards de-escalation -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN Tehran.
SOARES: We are covering these developments as only CNN can. Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from Tehran; Atika Shubert is in London; Sam Kiley is in
Fred, I want to start with you if I may. This is yet another blow to the nuclear deal. Put into context for our viewers around the world.
What is Iran's intent here?
Is it to power the country or to build a bomb?
PLEITGEN: I think for the Iranians it's absolutely to -- I wouldn't necessarily say to power the country but I do think they want to have the
benefits of nuclear energy, on one hand, to power the country but also for research purposes as well.
On the other hand, of course, for them, the nuclear agreement was also extremely important because for them it was supposed to provide sanctions
relief. What the Iranians say is going on is they're adhering to this nuclear agreement. They're putting curbs on their nuclear program in a
But they're not getting any of the benefits. They say look, there's no companies that are investing here in Iran because of U.S. sanctions
pressure and they're not able to sell at least most of their oil on international markets.
The Iranians are saying that needs to stop. So they're putting a lot of pressure on the Europeans because they know that the Iranians and the
Europeans are on the same page on this issue. Both sides want the nuclear agreement to survive.
And on a different page, of course, then the Trump administration, which has already pulled out of the nuclear agreement, and the Iranians are
saying, look, if you guys think the nuclear agreement is important, Europeans, if you want it to survive, you're going to have to start putting
real things in place to make sure your companies can do business here in Iran. Otherwise, this deal isn't worth keeping around.
SOARES: Let's get the European reaction.
Atika, we heard from Federica Mogherini, the E.U. foreign minister.
What does she have to say?
Does she see these comments from Iran as a threat?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She refused to be drawn on this.
SHUBERT: She said she wasn't going to be baited. She didn't draw any red lines. She said for now Iran is sticking to the agreement. Take a listen
to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEDERICA MOGHERINI, E.U. HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: At the moment, as of today, Iran is in compliance. And we strongly hope,
encourage, expect that Iran continues to comply with its commitments under the JCPOA in full.
And I would not enter into a blame game at all. So our focus is not to enter into a blame game or give responsibility for the collapse of a deal
that might come. Our focus is to keep the agreement in place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: So basically she's saying, listen, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
In the meantime, Germany, France and the U.K. have all been working to try and put into place what's called INSTEX. This is this financial trade
workaround to the U.S. sanctions and Germany's foreign minister was there last week in Tehran trying to make it work.
So there was some hope that maybe we could see the first transactions coming but so far we haven't seen anything solid.
SOARES: Iran basically said they have given us a lot of good words, this is from Iran, but not deeds, talking about Europe.
Why is it taking Europe so long?
SHUBERT: Well, this is a really tricky thing to do. The U.S. has said essentially any trade with Iran barring humanitarian needs is completely
out. These sanctions are tough and they're going to get tougher.
Europe has been saying maybe we can find some sort of a currency workaround where with the trade only between the E.U. and Iran. That's tricky to do
with such a dominant economy like the U.S. So it's taken a lot of time to set up this mechanism. They haven't had the first transaction in it yet.
Once they get the first transaction, it's only going to be in pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, those things that the United States sees
as necessary for humanitarian reasons. They're not getting into the big trades yet. I think that's why Iran is getting frustrated, saying you made
all these promises for trade and now they're falling through.
SOARES: What we heard today, Sam, from Iran was the fact they are feeling the pinch. All this coming just days after suspected attacks against two
foreign tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Mistrust between both countries clearly at an all time high.
You've just written a piece for cnn.com and you say in your piece Iran benefits the most from these increasing tensions. Explain to our viewers
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a bit counterintuitive; that makes a bit more fun. Essentially if the Iranians
can leave the impression without being formally, legally blamed that they can close the Strait of Hormuz with a relatively low investment of some
limpet mines -- and they've already had a material effect of shipping through those straits.
There's been a 10 times increase in insurance rates I'm told bid two different companies involved in shipping through that location. There's
pressure on the Royal Navy and other international naval forces there to help out and advise ships as they go through.
They can conjure up memories of the tanker wars in the 1980s when the U.S. Navy was involved in protecting shipping, Iraqi shipping mostly, from being
attacked from the Iranians and driving up oil prices and insurance rates and so on.
So for a relatively low investment and no blame they've been able to send this signal that they can have material effect on the wellbeing,
particularly of the Europeans. Remember, a quarter of the European Unions exports goes to the Gulf. That's the countries like this one I'm sitting
in the UAE.
Closing down that kind of route is catastrophic economically for countries in the region and in Europe. If you then combine the issues that you've
been discussing with the Atika over the JCPOA, you see what they're doing is threatening a double whammy.
The other thing about the Iranians is they're also signaling that they can take a lot more pain than the economies in the West. They can take it
because they're authoritarian and they can take it because they have a kind of tradition of doing that.
Remember, a million people were killed in the Iran-Iraq War. They're sending out these signals they're robust. They've also got the capacity,
using swarms of small, fast boats of the sort that we saw rescuing people from those stricken tankers a few days ago, to even bypass the American
You've got hundreds of these boats all coming literally at a rate of knots towards battleships, some would get through. So they are signaling that
they've got some power and, therefore, it's necessary to talk to them.
Ultimately they want to be able to dial down on the sanctions that the U.S. have imposed unilaterally, much to the irritation and despair of the
American allies in Europe.
SOARES: And finally, I want to bring in, if I can, Fred, very quickly.
You've heard --
SOARES: -- what Sam was saying, they're threatening a double whammy.
Slightly risky, is it not for Iran at this stage?
PLEITGEN: Well, I think that the Iranians believe that they're in a position where they're essentially calling the Trump administration's
bluff. The Iranians have been saying for quite a while they believe there are people in the Trump administration, like, for instance, national
security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who are driving the administration towards a war with Iran.
But they fundamentally still believe that President Trump himself, while he wants to keep this sanctions pressure upright, does not want a war with
At the same time -- and Sam is absolutely right in saying it -- they say that they are ready for one if it does happen. Not just because of the
military power that they have but first and foremost because of all the militias they control in the greater Middle East.
One of the things that a senior former Revolutionary Guard commander told me not too long ago, he said, if this comes to a shooting war, it's not
just the armies against one another. They say that next to every military base that the U.S. has in the Middle East, there is an Iranian militia or a
pro-Iranian militia that can be mobilized very quickly.
So the Iranians saying they do have a lot of power in this as well. And today even, interestingly, the chief of Iran's general staff said if we
wanted to close the Strait of Hormuz, that's certainly something we could do. We could do it openly if we wanted to.
But the Iranians at this point are saying they don't want this to escalate. They certainly don't want to close the Strait of Hormuz. They want to keep
it open. They themselves say they feel responsible -- and they are responsible -- for the security of the shipping that goes through there, at
least in parts of the Strait of Hormuz and, of course, in general on the Persian Gulf as well.
SOARES: Fred Pleitgen, Atika Shubert and Sam Kiley, thank you for joining us this hour.
I want to turn to Hong Kong where protesters are refusing to back down until their demands are met. Organizers say a record breaking 2 million
people flooded the streets of the city, calling for the resignation of Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, and a complete withdrawal of the
controversial extradition bill.
Police put that number around 338,000. Meanwhile, crowds have been gathering outside the legislative building today, keeping up the pressure
on Lam, as you can see there. It comes as China declares its full support for the Hong Kong leader.
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong is lending his voice to protests hours after being released from prison. He became the face of the city's Occupy
movement in 2014 and now he's backing those calls for Carrie Lam to step down. CNN's Anna Coren has this report.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a steely confidence that has grown over the years, Joshua Wong calmly stepped in front of the
cameras before a crowd of protesters gathered at Hong Kong's legislative council building erupted with a thunderous applause.
This wasn't just another protest organizer but the face of the pro- democracy movement, who had just been released from prison. Hours before, the 22-year old walked out of the prison where he had served 33 days for
his involvement in the Occupy movement of 2014, which brought the heart of the city to a standstill for more than two months.
This was Wong's third time in prison.
COREN: How did you feel when you were in prison watching those protests?
JOSHUA WONG, PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: Why I can't join this fight.
COREN: You wanted to be there?
WONG: I want to be there.
COREN (voice-over): But while he's been behind bars, his city has staged the biggest demonstrations ever seen in Hong Kong over a controversial
extradition bill that would allow extradition of criminal suspects to Mainland China. Organizers say almost 2 million protesters dressed in
black turned out for Sunday's march.
COREN: Are you feeling so proud of your fellow Hong Kongers?
WONG: I am proud of being in Hong Kong, really.
COREN (voice-over): But the violent clashes between protesters and police, where more than 80 people were injured, including 22 officers last week,
wasn't something this human rights activist thought would ever happen in his beloved Hong Kong.
WONG: I was shocked and never imagined Hong Kong police would hold a gun to its people. Here is Hong Kong, not Beijing.
COREN: The protest movement of the past few weeks has not had a leader. It has been led by the people. But the return of Joshua Wong has given
these people so much more hope that their fight for freedom will continue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's very iconic for Hong Kong people. So maybe he can gather more people out or aware of this event.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before he released from jail, we do not have any significant leaders to lead us. And still we get 2 million people to stand
up here and go to the street and fight for our democracy and defend and preserve what we want.
COREN (voice-over): While the city's chief executive, Carrie Lam, announced over the weekend she was shelving the extradition bill,
protesters are demanding a complete withdrawal of it and for her to resign.
Wong believes protesters are feeling emboldened and will ride this momentum until their demands are met.
WONG: In the critical moment, they will come to join our fight. President Xi in Beijing may be really afraid of people because massive mobilization
would never happen in Mainland China but it could happen in Hong Kong.
SOARES: Now let's get more; CNN's Ivan Watson is live for us in Hong Kong.
Protesters refusing to back down, clearly maintaining the momentum, yet Carrie Lam isn't going anywhere, it seems.
How long do you think they can sustain this, Ivan?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a good question because right now there are -- there is a scattered group of
demonstrators here in front of Carrie Lam's office.
But the numbers have dwindled and this is just a fraction of just the enormous display of people power that we saw on Sunday, coursing through
the streets of this city. Make no mistake, this was a victory, for the short-term, for people in the streets challenging their government here in
Hong Kong and, by extension, the Chinese central government.
They have accomplished something pretty remarkable: a number of concessions, the temporary suspension of this controversial law; they've
actually gotten a written apology from Beijing's hand picked leader here in Hong Kong and, in the last couple of hours, the head of the police has kind
of downgraded the clashes that we witnessed in these very streets on Wednesday from a riot to now arguing that some of the protesters were
rioting, from a noun to an adjective.
So we have the leadership here that have, politically speaking, their noses have been bloodied. They're trying to back down and lower the tension.
The opposition is trying to keep the momentum going.
But you do have to wonder how they can do that. Five years ago, they had an encampment, an Occupy sit-in for more than two months and, ultimately,
it fizzled out. We don't know how they're going to try to move forward from this remarkable eight days of protests and this remarkable test of
wills that, again, in the short-term, the opposition of Hong Kong won a victory.
SOARES: Yes, you can see the protests behind you, like you say, they clearly dwindled but it seems they are emboldened and they're not budging,
Ivan. This presents in many ways a challenge for Beijing and Xi Jinping.
Like you said their noses have been bloodied, so what next?
WATSON: It's a very good question. We saw after the Umbrella movement sit-in fizzled five years ago here in Hong Kong that, in the months and
years afterwards, that the Hong Kong government, one by one, went after the leaders of that protest movement.
Some of them were disenfranchised after they'd been elected to Hong Kong's parliament. Others were prosecuted on different charges and put in prison,
including that young man, Joshua Wong.
A big question will be, could we see similar patterns of prosecution in the months and years ahead against some of the people who participated in these
And that is part of why the opposition here is trying to keep the momentum going because they got the upper hand for a number of days. But it's very
hard to hold onto that energy when it is the appointed government that controls the levers of power in the city, even though this is, without
question, the freest place in all of modern day China through a twist in colonial history, the fact that it has been afforded more freedoms as a
semiautonomous part of modern day China.
SOARES: Very good context there, Ivan Watson, on the ground in Hong Kong. Thanks very much, Ivan, very good to see you.
Still to come right here on the shows, months after CNN captured these images at an anti-Semitic rally in Berlin, we have a shocking follow-up to
our investigation. Our national correspondent brings you that.
And a former funny man, Egypt's Jon Stewart, gives me the lowdown on his return to the spotlight. He'll be joining us on set.
SOARES: You are watching CNN. I'm Isa Soares.
Iran says it is ramping up enrichment of low grade uranium and will pass the limit it is allowed to stockpile in less than two weeks. Under the
2015 Iran nuclear deal, limits were put on Iran's nuclear program and Tehran agreed to slash its stockpile of inventory by 98 percent and not to
enrich uranium to the point necessary to power a nuclear reactor.
Now a spokesman for the Iranian atomic agency says Iran feels it has the right to suspend its commitment after sanctions were reinstated by the
My next guest wrote about the Iran nuclear deal when it was inked, saying it was built to last. Richard Dalton is a former British ambassador to
Iran and president of the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce. And he joins me now.
Richard, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.
So let me ask you this, what happened, Richard?
Is the deal dead?
RICHARD DALTON, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO IRAN: No, but it's dying and that's a direct consequence of the United States' totally unjustified
action, which is against the United States' interests, I believe, and certainly against the security interests of the European Union and the
states of the region.
SOARES: But what we heard today, Richard, was a threat in many ways, from Iran to you. Step in and make more of an effort to really circumvent U.S.
At this point, what can Europe do?
What more can Europe do?
DALTON: Well, maybe by the time that the time limit that Iran gave, an extra two months over the one year since the United States pulled out,
maybe the European Union will have completed one or two transactions under the special financial vehicle that is set up to set up organize
But I doubt very much whether that's enough now because the Iranians have been cheated by its partners in this negotiation and it is ludicrous to
expect Iran unilaterally to go on observing an agreement which others are not observing.
SOARES: You say that. But we heard today in the last hour or so from the foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, she said she's staying far from the
blame game, to try to --
SOARES: -- deescalate tensions. What do you think would be a red line, let's say, for the E.U. when it comes to the Iran nuclear deal now?
DALTON: That's still to be defined. What I would propose is evidence that Iran intends to enrich uranium at the highest level in sufficient
quantities to make a nuclear bomb, once they have mastered technologies -- which they have not yet mastered -- namely the military ones.
Now that is a long way off. If Iran moves slowly in breach of its obligations under the JCPOA, I believe it will be possible still to prevent
serious escalation and to reestablish diplomacy as the way of solving this issue, which is so important to the peace of the world, rather than threats
But that does require all parties to adopt new approaches.
SOARES: Of course, we heard actually saying Iran remains compliant. On that point, Richard, on the new approaches, do you think that the U.S.
around to the idea that they may be worth dialing down the scale of sanctions and restarting talks with Iran?
Or is that a bit too farfetched and too little too late?
DALTON: It's too farfetched at the moment to think that either Iran or the United States will back down in the short term. In the short term, over
the next month or two, all parties should be in crisis management mode. They should be dialing down the tension, avoiding further provocations.
If they have to retaliate against the other side, doing so in a way that does not lead us into a war or lead us into an even more intractable
diplomatic problem. During that period, it should be possible to revive diplomacy.
But it will probably have to be on a new basis, one which brings in the Arab states on the western shores of the Persian Gulf and is a win-win
solution for them as well as for Iran, as well as for Europe, as well as for the United States.
SOARES: Richard Dalton, he's the former British ambassador to Iran and president of the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce.
Always good to have you on the show. Thanks very much for joining us here on CONNECT THE WORLD.
DALTON: Thank you.
SOARES: Now Donald Trump has had so many firsts as U.S. president. Now he has another. Israel has named a new settlement in the Golan Heights after
him to thank him for something no other country in the world has done. We'll tell you what that is next.
SOARES: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD.
Last year a major CNN investigation into anti-Semitism across Europe found anti-Semitic stereotypes alive and well while the memory of the Holocaust
is starting to fade. On top of that, of Europeans CNN polled, 44 percent believed anti-Semitism was a growing problem in their countries. But 28
percent of those polled, more than a quarter, believe Jews have too much influence in business as well as in finance.
CNN's Clarissa Ward traveled back to Germany to see how things stand now. She joins me now.
Has anything actually improved since you went there last year?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was extraordinary. We went seven or eight months ago. We attended a rally on
the streets of Berlin. We saw a man flash a Nazi salute right in front of our face.
You would hope there have been improvements. Certainly there have been efforts. Germany has appointed this anti-Semitism czar; but he recently
caused controversy when he said it is not safe for Jews to wear yarmulkes in certain parts of Germany. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARD (voice-over): On the streets of Berlin, Germans gather to support the country's Jewish community. Most of the marchers are not Jewish but some
wear the kippa, a sign of protest against the country's growing anti- Semitism problem.
In 2018, the number of anti-Semitic attacks in Germany increased by 20 percent. Last month, the country's anti-Semitism czar, Felix Klein, made
headlines when he said it is not safe for Jewish people to wear the kippa in certain areas.
FELIX KLEIN, GERMANY'S ANTI-SEMITISM COMMISSIONER: I wanted to have it as sort of a wake-up call, that we should act as a society before it's too
WARD: Was it a shock to you to see a 20 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks last year?
KLEIN: What shocked me more was that there wasn't a public debate about it immediately. There wasn't an outcry.
How can that be?
WARD (voice-over): Last year CNN launched a major investigation into anti- Semitism in Europe. We found that 50 percent of Germans agree that Jews are at risk of racist violence.
Then restaurant owner Yorai Feinberg told us he gets harassed all the time.
YORAI FEINBERG, RESTAURANT OWNER: From murder to I will break your knees. I will break your arms, I will break your teeth. They're very creative in
everything, all the options that they want to break.
WARD (voice-over): Seven months later, he says the German government needs to do more.
FEINBERG: I feel that the process the Germans did since the Second World War, they made big progress. They fighted against what was here before.
And now all the good work is going backwards.
WARD: These bollards have been built to protect this synagogue from a potential terrorist attack. And this is now the reality of life for the
Jewish community here in Germany.
Every single synagogue, every Jewish school has to be protected by police 24 hours a day.
WARD (voice-over): Anti-Semitism here has many sources: the far right, the far left and elements of the Muslim community. Klein says it must be
tackled from an early age.
KLEIN: "Jew" is once again an insult in German schools and this is absolutely unacceptable. Once again the teachers and also parents,
families, have to be confronted with it and it has to be made clear that we do not accept any form of anti-Semitism.
WARD (voice-over): No small task but Germany hopes that by having the conversation now it can prevent a crisis in the future.
SOARES: Clarissa, you said in your piece that anti-Semitism has many sources, many tentacles.
How hard is this for government?
What can they actually achieve in terms of policy?
WARD: That's the really difficult thing because each different source has a different remedy or a different solution.
And so how do you try to incorporate that under one umbrella?
And also, how do you do it when we live in a society whereby we have social media?
And things in this political climate that would have been inconceivable to say 10, 20 years ago that would have been considered taboo are now
regularly being trumpeted and amplified across social media.
What do you do about that?
SOARES: How can you police anything object that?
WARD: Exactly. You can't. These are liberal democracies where you have freedom of speech. But it makes it a very difficult topic for someone like
Felix Klein to try to address this serious problem in Germany.
SOARES: Angela Merkel warned against dark forces on the rise in Europe.
What is your sense having been there seven months ago?
Has the mood changed?
Has anything changed at all?
Are they more aware of what's happening on the ground?
WARD: I think the thing that is starting to change is there is a real conversation being had about this issue now. That's the importance and
primary role of Felix Klein. It's less that he's going to be able to get rid of the problem and more that he's going to be able to shine a light on
it, to keep the conversation going, to keep engaging the public, to keep challenging the public.
A lot of people are saying, oh, this isn't really a problem. The Jewish community is very wealthy, it does very well.
WARD: Exactly. A huge part of this is about having the conversation, having this be in the public space so people can engage in a more honest
and pragmatic way.
SOARES: Thanks very much, Clarissa.
Let's get you up to speed on other stories on our radar right now.
All eyes are on Boeing at the kickoff of the Paris Air Show. The U.S. jetmaker typically uses the industry event to announce new orders for
hundreds of planes. Things might be different this year, with Boeing halting deliveries of its 737 MAX following two deadly crashes. The
company hasn't announced a commercial order in over two months.
Huawei says a U.S. ban will cost $30 billion over two years. The company has become a flashpoint in the U.S.-China trade war. The Trump
administration put Huawei on a blacklist last month, if you remember, barring U.S. companies from selling its technology without a license.
India has ramped up tariffs on U.S. exports. In the past 24 hours, it has hit 28 American products with increased duties. This includes produce like
apples and almonds as well as several chemical products. Relations between the two countries have soured in recent weeks.
Now Donald Trump is a king of branding, putting his name on hotels and casinos and other buildings around the world. Now he's inspired a Trump
Heights but it might not be what you think.
Israel has named a new settlement for the U.S. president in the Golan Heights. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it's a way to thank a
great friend for breaking with the rest of the world and recognizing its sovereignty over the next territory.
Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem.
This is quite an honor but it hasn't been built yet, has it?
In fact, is it even legal?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All that's there at this point is a sign that says Trump Heights, Trump in Hebrew. That's how it may stay
because of Israel's political situation. That's about all this government is able to do.
As for the question of legality, even that too is complicated because it depends on what jurisdiction you're looking at.
If it's a question of international law, then all of the settlements, Trump Heights among them, are illegal in international law because this is
occupied territory taken by Syria in the Six-Day War.
Despite that Israel annexed the Golan Heights and sees it as part of Israel. It was President Trump who became the first in history to
recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel in what was seen as a political gift to Netanyahu.
If you're asking the question of can Israel do this now with a transitional government?
That is where some have attacked the prime minister, saying this is a publicity stunt. All you've done is announced a proposed site and name for
a settlement and doing that, as much as it is a sort of gift back to president Donald Trump, doesn't actually make this settlement exist quite
So we'll see where this goes in the coming months. There is no doubt that, as of right now, this made Netanyahu very happy and Trump very happy. As
we saw in a tweet Trump said, "Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, a great honor."
SOARES: OK. So potentially a public relations exercise, Oren.
Is it the only building or only infrastructure, let's say, with Trump's name on it in Israel or are there more?
LIEBERMANN: Not at all. This list is starting to get quite long and it began after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel a couple of
years ago and moved the embassy from where it was in Tel Aviv to where it is now in Jerusalem.
The biggest infrastructure project was the minister of transportation at the time saying he's going to name a high speed rail station after
president Donald Trump. And that was just one of a number of lists. There were roads that were planned to be named after Trump, parks as well as
streets and other things of that nature, all in what was basically a naming frenzy and this continues that naming frenzy.
Certainly it will be the biggest project named after Trump if Netanyahu follows through on this or whoever wins the next election and truly
establishes the Trump Heights settlement in the Golan Heights.
SOARES: A naming frenzy, what an honor. Oren, thanks very much. Good to see you.
Up next, the jokes were funny but the consequences were very serious indeed. We speak to Bassem Youssef, the one-time host of the Arab world's
most popular satire show, that comedy exile comes next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASSEM YOUSSEF, EGYPTIAN SATIRIST: (Speaking Arabic).
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SOARES: Magician and TV host Bassem Youssef says shortly after this pressure from the state, he so definitely satirizes and he was saying his
goodbyes for good.
Less than a year later his show, once watched by 30 million viewers across the Middle East, was off the air. By 2014, Bassem himself was in exile.
The man known as the Jon Stewart of the Arab world fled to Los Angeles, never to return. Since then the heart surgeon turned satirist has kept
SOARES: -- writing a book called "Revolution for Dummies" and scoring a role as the "Duck Tales" villain for Disney. He joins me now in London.
You're in London because you've got -- you have a show coming right?
YOUSSEF: I have been touring my one-man show. It's in English, which is kind of like a reinvention because people in the Middle East are used to me
doing comedy in Arabic. But now I've kind of like reinvented myself for the third time.
I'm trying to do a political satire comedy about my life, what I've been through, whether in Egypt, in the United States, in a language which is not
SOARES: You say you're reinventing in many ways.
Are you reinventing yourself?
How do you have to change your show from Western audience compared to Egyptian audience?
YOUSSEF: It's totally different because it's not about like translating the jokes. It's not about translating the references. It's about rewiring
your brain from the get-go. It's about the speed, the delivery, everything.
And I have actually to run my show many times in the United States. I've been like to smaller clubs, bigger clubs, theaters. And the process of
doing it -- because it's a mixture of a standup and a one-man show, a storytelling, a person's story, commentary on global events, so it's been
quite a challenge.
SOARES: Do you have a message?
SOARES: When it comes to the Western audience.
What is your message?
YOUSSEF: Oh, absolutely. Of course there's the whole thing about what does it mean to try to be funny in the face of power.
YOUSSEF: In two different places, in the Middle East and in America.
SOARES: OK, tell me. Keeping it clean but how different is it?
How do you play into that?
YOUSSEF: Well, first of all, people, of course, talk about like how bad the people from the right wing when they come to power in the Western world
and, yes, it is bad. But at least there is a margin of freedom. There's a margin to change.
But sometimes that would cost you a lot if you do it in the Middle East. That is one part. But it's even bigger about that. It's about the choices
that you make where you are judged, where you are expected to be a certain person, have certain opinions, have a certain type of life.
And you -- and basically the conclusion is it's basically the same because no matter how certain parts of the world would like to appear more free and
more accepting, you're basically still locked into the same expectations wherever you are. It's just like the chains and the bars are different.
SOARES: Let me ask you this, comedians like Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld both have said that political correctness is killing comedy in the U.S.
Do you believe that?
YOUSSEF: I truly and wholeheartedly approve and agree with this word. I think it's gone too far. And by the way, I'm one of the minorities that
should be protected by political correctness. And I think that we -- the way to -- there's this famous saying that says like the way you deal with
bad speech is more speech. You should not stifle people who use bad speech. You use them as material and you laugh at them and I think that's
the way you do it.
But I don't like to be victimized as a minority. I don't like to be treated as someone with certain needs or different needs because I'm a
minority or because I come from a different ethnicity or background or religion or color.
And I think that the way that you face these horrible speeches, even racist and discrimination, that you're allowed to speak more against it and even
use comedy and this is what I try to do.
SOARES: Your story as we outlined very briefly I should say in the piece just there mirrors that of the Arab Spring. You were forced, like we said,
self-exiled in L.A.
You're in L.A., right?
YOUSSEF: Yes. Which is not a bad place to be actually.
SOARES: You picked a good one but do you think it was worth it?
That was going to be my question.
YOUSSEF: Here's the thing, what do you mean worth it?
SOARES: Are you expecting to go back to your country?
YOUSSEF: Not in the time being. And the thing is maybe that's not what I want anymore. Maybe what I want is to basically talk to more people, talk
to a wider audience, find a new life, challenge myself to be a place that I never thought I could be comfortably, compete with people who have been in
that business 10 and 20 years more than me.
And, again, I'm kind of a disadvantage because I'm going to have to do that with my second language. Maybe that's the whole challenge. I was a heart
surgeon, I was a doctor.
SOARES: You keep reinventing yourself it seems.
YOUSSEF: And then I became on YouTube and then --
YOUSSEF: -- I did theater and now I'm doing standup comedy in English. Isn't it amazing. I'm 45 years old and I'm still -- and I'm doing stuff
that people who are -- (CROSSTALK)
YOUSSEF: -- people who have been -- and now I'm doing stuff that 22 years old do when they move to Los Angeles. And I think it is terrifying. It is
scary but this is an amazing to try to teach yourself new skills.
SOARES: It's formidable and kudos to you because I don't think I could do it. I want to get back on a serious note.
Arab Spring, do you think that was a success in your eyes?
YOUSSEF: Right now, no, it is like looking at the French Revolution 10 years after the French Revolution happened. I always say that the
revolution is not an event. It's not an event and, yes, let's go out. It's a process and the process can take a couple of generations, even more.
SOARES: Very quickly what is your advice for protesters let's say in Sudan?
YOUSSEF: Well, first of all, I think we have failed the people in Sudan. I think everybody failed them. I think people with money, with exposure,
with media have failed them. Southern Sudan doesn't exist anymore.
I think what happens to them, is a pattern all over the world. And I think the Western world is complicit because basically they talk big game about
democracy and freedom but really they care about who they sell their weapons. And I think what happened in Sudan is a cautionary tale because
that happened in other countries in the Middle East.
SOARES: Thank you for being on the show.
That does it for us, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching.