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U.S.-Iran Tensions; Istanbul Votes in Mayoral Re-Run; Race for Britain's Next Prime Minister; Middle East Diplomacy; U.S. Immigration Crackdown; Chennai Water Shortage; New Book about Asian Elephants' Lives in Captivity. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired June 23, 2019 - 04:00   ET

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


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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president plans to impose new sanctions on Iran as a way to ultimately drive Tehran back to the bargaining table.

Will it work?

The front-runner in the race to lead the U.K. faces tough questions about a possible domestic incident.

And later this hour, I talk to the author of a new book that says putting Asian elephants to work could actually help save their lives.

Welcome to our viewers joining us around the world. Live in Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen and NEWSROOM starts right now.

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ALLEN: Our top story: the United States is changing its stance on Iran from military rhetoric to economic threats. U.S. president Donald Trump says that more sanctions against Iran will be imposed on Monday aimed to keep it from getting nuclear weapons.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump called Iran "an economic mess" and said further sanctions will get them to the bargaining table. Before leaving for Camp David, Mr. Trump also thanked Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You notice there was a plane with 38 people yesterday. Did you see that?

I think that's a big story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that accurate?

TRUMP: They had it in their sights and they didn't shoot it down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that accurate? TRUMP: I think they were very wise not do that and we appreciate they didn't do that. But they had a plane in their sights, 38 people on the plane. And they didn't shoot it down. And I think that was a very wise decision. And, and, I think that's something that we very much appreciate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: But Iran shows no signs of backing down and says it will counter any threats or aggression and has no intention of sitting down with the U.S. president. In a few moments, we'll go to Tehran.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to meet with the White House national security adviser, John Bolton. He's in Jerusalem for Monday's trilateral meeting with his Israeli and Russian counterparts. The rising tension with Iran is likely topping their agenda.

North Korean state media say Kim Jong-un received a personal letter from the U.S. president. Kim said the letter had "excellent and serious content." And that's after President Trump says Kim sent him a, quote, "beautiful letter" earlier this month.

South Korea's presidential office says the correspondence is a good sign for the momentum of denuclearization talks.

In Istanbul, the polls are open. Voters taking part in a redo of March's mayoral election. Turkish officials ordered the revote, citing irregularities. Joining us now from the polling station is our Jomana Karadsheh to talk about the significance of this revote. It's seen as a test of Turkey's democracy. JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Natalie. We're at one of

the nearly 30,000 polling centers here in Istanbul. Even before the polls open at 8 o'clock local time, there were queues reported at some of the polling centers. Where we're at, over the past couple of hours, we've seen a steady constant stream of young and older voters showing up to cast their ballots.

We've seen some elderly women and men showing up on wheelchairs. We spoke to a woman and asked her what made her come out today. She said, while her health may have stopped her from turning up to vote, her conscience wouldn't allow her to stay at home.

There's a realization here that every vote counts. This is a weekend in the middle of summer holidays. Many people have changed holiday plans. Others have returned to Istanbul to cast their vote because of what happened March 31st.

In a city of about 11 million eligible voters, you had a difference of about 13,000 votes. That's a narrow victory for the opposition. So today we're seeing a good turnout so far. We'll have to wait and see what happens by the end of the day. Most importantly, Natalie, both sides here accept the results of this poll.

ALLEN: I want to ask you, if Erdogan's party does not prevail in this vote, what would that signal? KARADSHEH: Well, you know, Natalie, I think we have to look back at what happened on March 31st.

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KARADSHEH: You know, they have lost control of Turkey's three largest cities, the capital, Ankara, here, Istanbul and also the city of Izmir. Istanbul's always been very significant for President Erdogan and his party. He's known to have said whoever wins Istanbul wins Turkey. Who loses Istanbul loses Turkey.

This is the financial and economic hub. It is the financial capital of Turkey, the crown jewel of Turkish politics and, for the president, it's got a significance that this is where he launched his own -- it was a launchpad to his political career. He was the mayor of Istanbul back in 1994.

So a lot of significance for the president and his AKP party. That is why this is seen as a real test today.

Will they accept the result no matter what the result is?

But it is also very important for the opposition, Natalie. What happened March 31st, that slim victory they had then, it was seen as something that reinvigorated the opposition here. It's felt that their country is on a path towards a more authoritarian rule.

Over the past three years, that win back on March 31stst gave them hope and confidence they could win through the ballot box, that Turkish democracy is still alive and well and they can make a difference. That's why today is very critical. Most importantly, both sides accept the results no matter what they are, Natalie.

ALLEN: Absolutely. Very important vote. You'll be watching it for us. Thank you, Jomana.

Ethiopia's prime minister says his army chief of staff has been attacked. He offered no specifics, so it's not clear if it's connected to a failed coup attempt, which his spokesman said happened against a regional government in the country.

It's not known who was behind the attempted takeover located in Amhara in the northwestern part of Ethiopia. The prime minister says federal police have been authorized to take action on the instigators.

Boris Johnson, the front-runner in the race to be the next prime minister, is dodging questions about a reported police visit to his home. "The Guardian" newspaper says they were called after reports of an altercation. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz says it comes as the race entered a major phase.

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SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: At the first of 16 public debates for Conservative Party members, it was the personalities, not the politics that took the lead. Front-runner Boris Johnson was in the headlines today after police

responded to the home he shares with his girlfriend in London. According to local media, police arrived after neighbors said they heard screaming inside the home. Police said everyone inside was OK. And no further police action was needed.

But of course, when Boris Johnson took his seat at this debate, the first question the moderator asked him about was this incident. He refused to answer, ducked the question so the moderator tried it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does a person's private life --

BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Don't boo. No, no. Don't boo the great man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he answers this question, I will move on.

Does a person's private life have any bearing on their ability to discharge the office of prime minister?

JOHNSON: Look, I've tried to give my answer pretty exhaustively. I think what people want to know is whether I have the determination and the courage to deliver on the commitments that I'm making. And it will need a lot of grit right now. I think people are entitled to think about this. And this is a relevant consideration, actually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be clear, you're not going to make any comment at all on what happened last night?

JOHNSON: I think that's pretty obvious from the forgoing --

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABDELAZIZ: On Brexit, Boris Johnson said he would try to go back and renegotiate a withdrawal agreement with the E.U. If he could not find a solution, the U.K. would leave the E.U. as scheduled on October 31st with or without a deal.

His rival, Jeremy Hunt, the underdog in this race, had a very similar although maybe more measured approach. Take a listen to what he said.

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JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: My judgment is that weighing those difficult options and the political risk of no Brexit, it's far worse than the economic risk of no deal. I would take us out of the European Union in that situation. It would not be my choice. If we can avoid it and get a deal, that is something that a responsible prime minister should aim for. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ABDELAZIZ: Over the next few weeks, Conservative Party members, 160,000 people across the country, will select which of these two candidates they want to be the next prime minister. Boris Johnson is by far and away the favorite. He has the popularity among Conservative Party members. He has the support among MPs.

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ABDELAZIZ: But the only person who can really take down Boris Johnson is Boris Johnson himself. He's a notoriously gaffe-prone politician. His mistakes and missteps caused offenses in the past. All it could take is one more blunder and there could be a major upset in the race -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Hundreds of environmental activists stormed an open pit coal mine in Germany Saturday. They broke through police lines and entered the pit to protest against coal burning power plants. They were part of the larger demonstration against the climate crisis.

The utility that owns the mine says the protesters' actions were highly dangerous and unnecessary. They say they're not opposed to reducing coal and have been lowering their carbon dioxide emissions for years.

From military threats to economic ones, President Trump is changing his tune on Iran. So how is it playing there?

We'll go to our reporter inside Tehran to find out. That's coming next.

Plus, thousands of families expecting to be deported this weekend get a reprieve. Why U.S. officials say the president had to postpone the massive immigration raids.

Right now, though, we're going to switch you live to Israel because the national security adviser of the United States, John Bolton is meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and let's listen to their comments.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I think it's reached unprecedented heights under the leadership of President Trump. I think America has no greater friend than Israel. Israel has no greater friend and ally than the United States.

Your visit is an opportunity to strengthen that alliance even further, as well as to discuss how best to address the enormous challenges we face together in the Middle East, particularly at this sensitive time.

As you know, Iran has long been conducting a containable aggression and terror across the region, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. When sanctions against Iran were removed a few years ago as part of the nuclear deal and tens of billions of began to pour into Iran's coffers, Iran's aggression increased. I want to state this very clearly, the supporters of the Iran deal

argue that the infusion of cash, massive cash into Iran's economy would moderate Iran. They argue that Iran would become an inward focus with the start nation-building and, in fact, the opposite has happened. The very opposite has happened.

Iran used those hundreds of billions of to fund empire building, not nation building. That is the stamping of one state after the other and the devouring of one state after another in the Middle East.

Those who argue that Iran's aggression began after the recent actions, I think they're not living on the same planet. This is completely false.

We in Israel saw Iran's aggression in their increased efforts to establish military bases in Syria and their increased efforts to provide sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah and to increase financial support by Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

This increased right after the deal, right after the deal. With the removal of sanctions, we in Israel could see an explosion of terror and aggression. Likewise, our Arab neighbors saw exactly the same thing. They saw Iran's aggression and Iran's increased support for terror groups that threatened them from the Shiite militias in Iraq to the Houthis in Yemen.

Well before the active aggression in recent weeks, such as the attacks on oil tankers and the downing of an American drone, Iranian forces fired dozens of rockets into Israeli territories and flew drones into Israeli airspace.

Iran also fired rockets deep into Saudi Arabia and through their proxies endangered international shipping lanes. This is all months and years ago. After the deal but before recent events, Iran has been a campaign of aggression. Those who describe the actions as opening a hornet's nest are living in another planet.

In fact, the one thing that has changed for those of us who live in the Middle East is not that Iran is attacking its neighbors or brazenly perpetrating wanton aggression, what's new is that, now, thanks to crippling American sanctions, Iran is facing unprecedented economic pressure as a result of its aggression.

I was pleased to hear President Trump make clear yesterday --

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NETANYAHU: -- that pressure will continue and that pressure will increase.

And I look forward to discussing this and other issues that affect the stability of our region with you, Mr. Bolton, John. I also want to thank you for your willingness to participate.

ALLEN: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States. We're listening to live coverage of a joint announcement from Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is standing next to the United States' national security adviser, John Bolton, who was there for trilateral meetings. Also Russia taking part in this meeting.

But the top agenda right now is Iran and the situation in the Middle East. Let's continue to listen.

NETANYAHU: -- two of the greatest nations on Earth. I hope and expect that this dialogue will be fruitful and confident that it's possible to both find common ground and chart a path forward that will help promote security and stability in the region, particularly in Syria.

John, let me conclude by saying again what a pleasure it is to see you in Jerusalem. Welcome to Israel. Welcome to Jerusalem. Welcome, friend.

JOHN BOLTON, TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Good to see you.

NETANYAHU: Thank you.

BOLTON: Well, it's a pleasure to be back in Jerusalem to meet with prime minister Netanyahu and his team. I appreciate the prime minister's leadership and vision, his friendship and his true and lasting partnership with the United States, demonstrated repeatedly when courage and persistence are required.

Although I'm here for a previously scheduled trilateral meeting of the national security advisers of Israel, Russia and the United States, hosted by prime minister Netanyahu, current circumstances in the region make our conversations even more timely.

I welcome the opportunity to strengthen even further the deep cooperation between the United States and Israel at this particularly significant point and to engage in strategic discussions with Russia and Israel together.

Certainly there should be no doubt that under prime minister Netanyahu and President Trump, the United States, Israel's security relationship has never been stronger. It takes strong leaders to make strong commitments, especially in perilous times.

This administration has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy here, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and brought military cooperation between the two countries to new levels.

These are not mere flourishes of rhetoric, which too often characterize international relations. These are concrete realities. And I'm sure there will be more to come.

Prime minister Netanyahu's strong relationships with both President Trump and President Putin augur well for the chances of success and greater alignment of the policies of these three great countries in a number of critical security issues.

President Trump looks forward to meeting with President Putin at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in the next few days, where many of the same issues will be discussed. I hope we can lay the groundwork for this meeting over the next several days here in Jerusalem.

As we meet, threats to international peace and security in the Middle East and around the world are on the rise. Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, its threats to exceed the limits set in the failed Iran nuclear deal in the coming days, its continuing buildup of menacing Quds Force capabilities in Syria and Iraq. Its supply of sophisticated drones, missiles and other advanced weapons, the hostile surrogate forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Afghanistan and its continued threats and acts of aggression against Israel, our allies in the Arabian Gulf and against U.S. personnel and assets across the Middle East are not signs of a nation seeking peace.

Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness. No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East. As President Trump said on Friday, our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go, by far, the best in the world.

Sanctions are biting. And more added last night. Iran can never have nuclear weapons. Not against the USA and not against the world. As he made clear yesterday, referring to his earlier remarks, the president said I just --

[04:20:00]

BOLTON: -- stopped the strike from going forward at this time. We expect that the new sanctions President Trump referred to in preparation for some weeks will be announced publicly on Monday. Stay tuned.

I'm delighted to be in Israel once again and look forward to our coming discussions. Thank you.

NETANYAHU: Thank you.

BOLTON: Thank you.

ALLEN: All right. We've been listening to Benjamin Netanyahu and the national security adviser for the United States, John Bolton.

This was a meeting that was already scheduled with Russia as well prior to the current tensions that are ongoing in Iran, between Iran and the United States. And you heard there, as both of these gentlemen reiterated their support for one another, their close partnership with one another.

And we also heard Mr. Netanyahu speak out about Iran's aggression. And as you heard from Mr. Bolton, talk about the threats to peace in the Middle East that he puts squarely on the shoulders of Iran.

He also reiterated that President Trump will be instituting even more sanctions this coming week and, as you heard him say, stay tuned.

Let's go to our correspondent there in Israel, Oren Liebermann, to talk about this meeting they're going to have.

This was a meeting planned before the current troubles with Iran. But Iran has shot up to the top of the agenda.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Iran was always at the top of the agenda because of who was here and what they were talking about. Ambassador John Bolton, a hardline hawk on Iran, was to meet with his Israeli and Russian counterparts here, mostly to discuss Iran's position in Syria.

Given the last few days, that widened out to Iran in the region and not only specifically Syria, where Russia has that influence and where Israel has tried to cultivate that relationship with Russia to keep Iran as far away as possible.

Given the events of the weekend, right before the weekend, it takes on a broader significance of Iran in the larger Middle East. In terms of what we heard in the opening statements, that's much what we expected.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu went through a long list of what he sees as Iranian aggression, including against Israel and other targets, as well as what he sees as Iran trying to devour the Middle East and expand what he says is its empire.

That's exactly where you would expect Netanyahu to start this meeting, his grievances against Iran. In terms of what Bolton said, Bolton echoed that, saying that the U.S.-Israel alliance has never been stronger than under President Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.

He, too, went into his own list of what he sees as Iran's aggressive acts in the region and that's where he continued. That was very much on the same page as Netanyahu.

Interestingly, Netanyahu made no mention of Trump's decision to call back a strike against Iran in retaliation for the downed drone.

Bolton, I was curious to see, did go there but only right at the end. There he sort of hedged. He said America's prudence and discretion should not be confused with what he termed weakness.

And then he pointed out that Trump said he stopped the strike at this time, apparently leaving open an open-ended threat that another strike could be possible. That seems to be what Bolton was hinting at before he walked out there with Netanyahu to start their bilateral meeting right now and head into tomorrow's meetings to include Russia. -- Natalie.

ALLEN: We'll hear more about it from you as the meetings continue. Oren Liebermann, thanks so much.

Let's go live to Tehran, Iran. Our Frederik Pleitgen there, covering the story from inside Iran.

There you have the hawk, John Bolton, known to want regime change standing with Netanyahu. The topic, Iran's aggression and the message from these men continuing to put the blame on Iran for the troubles going on there in the region -- Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Of course, the Iranians would have a different take on a lot of things, especially what the national security adviser, what he said. They're talking about the U.S. needing to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapons program. Exceeding the amount of uranium they're allowed to have under the nuclear agreement and they're breaching that agreement. The U.S. pulled out of that agreement unilaterally while all other countries signed on to the agreement are still in it.

Of course, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Natalie, has said various times than Iran is abiding by that agreement. We have to see what happens in the next of days.

But it's no secret that the tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been flaring up. Not just after the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman but --

[04:25:00]

PLEITGEN: -- after the shootdown of that drone. It's been interesting to see some of the reactions in Iran after President Trump decided not to go through with a retaliatory strike against Iran.

One of the things you're seeing on Iranian TV is President Trump seemingly thanking the Iranians for not shooting down a manned U.S. plane. That's led to some surprise, I think, among Iranian media and the Iranian public.

The Iranians for their part seem to be toning things down after that incident happened. There's no blustering rhetoric to speak of. What the Iranians are saying, though, if the U.S. would have retaliated, that would have led to a massive retaliation once again from the Iranian side.

It was interesting to see, Natalie, earlier this morning, an Iranian senior general said it could have led to an unmanageable situation in the Middle East. That's something we've been hearing from the Iranians again and again.

They're essentially saying that against Iran there is no such thing as limited military action. They said anything the U.S. does would lead to a massive response from the Iranian side. Not just between the U.S. and Iran but Iran has proxy forces in the Middle East as well, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much.

And Oren Liebermann as well for your insights. Coming up, we'll talk with an expert on Iran and delve into the situations even more.

Fred, thank you.

We'll take a break. We'll be right back.

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ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live --

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ALLEN: -- from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.

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ALLEN: Returning now to our top story. President Trump's plan to impose more sanctions on Iran. Joining us now from London is Fawaz Gerges, chair of contemporary Middle East studies at the London School of Economics and author of "Making the Arab World" and one of the world's foremost authorities on Iran.

Good to see you and thanks for being here. We just heard and saw a live news conference with the national security adviser, John Bolton from the U.S., and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Again the same thread, Iran is the aggressor and they must be contained. What is your takeaway from where Israel and the U.S. are right now and their thoughts and ideas on how to contain Iran?

FAWAZ GERGES, DIR. MIDDLE EAST CENTER, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: I sadly watched the brief press conference by Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and John Bolton. And really, in a nutshell, I'm not exaggerating, these are the two warmongers that have been driving America's policy towards Iran, defending Iran.

Iran has done a great deal of harm to its own society and its neighbors. But what we're talking about today really is a manmade crisis. This is a Trump's self-inflicted crisis. John Bolton said that Iran has violated the nuclear deal.

Let's remember, it was Donald Trump who has violated the nuclear deal. He left an international agreement signed by President Barack Obama and six great powers. Iran, according to American officials, the State Department, the Defense Department, the international community, the United Nations, the European powers, China and Russia, Iran was abiding by its commitments under the nuclear deal.

Even though Iran was doing a great deal of harm to its neighbors and its society but it was abiding by its commitment and, thus, thus, it is the Trump administration is responsible for the current crisis with Iran, particularly on the nuclear deal and Iran's basically decision to abide by its commitment with the nuclear deal.

ALLEN: So considering that, how do you characterize the situation as it stands now?

How dangerous is it?

GERGES: I mean, let me put it this way. Tomorrow, President Trump will target the Iranian gas sector, this is the next phase of the U.S. sanctions and will also target the European powers that buy Iranian gas.

What you have, Trump's maximum pressure campaign is designed to cripple the Iranian economy and basically bring about a regime change in a year or two.

Of course, President Trump knows that time is on his side. Time is not on the side of Iran. What we have seen is that Iran is punching back. Iran is trying to break the status quo. Because Iran is bleeding.

The American sanctions -- let me put it this way. The American war, economic war against Iran is really doing a lot of damage to everyday people in Iran. Let me give you an idea for your own international viewers. For example, Iran cannot now import materials to make diapers for infants.

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GERGES: The price of eggs, a basic staple food for the poor and the lower middle class, has skyrocketed in the past few months. The wages now in Iran have no purchasing power, given the inflation and given the collapse of the Iranian real.

What you have now is that time on President Trump's side, Iran does not have the time, what I see, there is a real danger of a limited military confrontation between the United States and Iran in the next few days and next few weeks.

And this limited military confrontation could escalate into a large scale confrontation, not only between the United States and Iran but a regionwide conflict. If President Trump continues to exert this kind of pressure and if Iran keeps bleeding as it is, we are heading towards a violent storm. I do hope I am wrong.

ALLEN: Absolutely. The bottom line is there's a catch-22 here because President Trump says he'll squeeze Iran so they will come to the table, which they say we're not talking with you unless you reengage on Iranian nuclear deal.

As you say, many agree with you, they were cooperating. It was President Trump who was saying you're not and bailed out.

The question is, is there any chance that President Trump can somehow come around to fostering a peaceful solution here?

And something else besides what's trying to do is just squeeze Iran until they break?

GERGES: I mean, I think we don't see a light at the end of the tunnel. We don't see a window of opportunity. There is no opening at this particular moment and I'll tell you why. Because President Trump, and I believe him, I believe President Trump when he says he does not really want all-out war with Iran, military confrontation.

What President Trump has been fed, he doesn't know. President Trump is a very humble businessman. I'm using my words very carefully. He's a man who is out of it. He does not know the world, he does not know Iran. The reason why he violated the nuclear deal, because he's trying to Demolish Barack Obama's legacy.

Everything Barack Obama had done, that's what Trump is trying to do. So President Trump has been fed by the two people you are watching a minute ago, by John Bolton and Benjamin Netanyahu, who is very close to the neoconservatives like John Bolton and Pompeo.

If you wage economic warfare against Iran, Iran, you'll break the backbone of Iran. Iran will surrender, Iran will come begging to the negotiating table. That is the narrative fed to President Trump. And he believed it, he believed the narrative. Remember, George W. Bush also believed the same narrative basically fed to him by Dick Cheney and Bolton and the neoconservative.

In fact, the reverse has happened. Iran now is punching back. Iran is not surrendering. Iran is not a good player in the Middle East. Let's make it very clear. Iran has invested tremendous resources outside of its own society. It has infiltrated its neighbors' societies, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and what have you.

I'm not defending Iran but President Trump's strategy of maximum pressure might bring about war even though he does not want war, because all it will take is a spark. And my take on it, the Iranians will punch back.

They're entangled in a calculated, dangerous escalation because they want to increase the costs of Trump's strategy, to increase the price of oil to basically attack targets that have impact on oil prices. So we're heading towards war even though President Trump does not really believe in a military confrontation with Iran.

ALLEN: We're watching it hour by hour and day by day. We appreciate your insights. Thank you very much, Fawaz, for speaking with us again.

Coming up, daily life is a struggle when your city is out of water. That's what millions face in India. We see if there's any hope.

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ALLEN: Welcome back. A last-minute turn around from Donald Trump to share with you. The president announced Saturday he is delaying this weekend's immigration raids for two weeks. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in 10 cities were to round up families ordered removed by a court, up to 2,000 families in all, in all of these cities you see here on the map.

On Twitter, Mr. Trump says he wants to give Democrats and Republicans time to get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border. He adds, if not, deportations start.

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TRUMP: These are people that came into the country illegally. They've been served. They've gone through a process, a process of the courts. And they have to be removed from the country. They will be removed from the country. It's having a very big effect on the border. The fact that we're taking them out. The people that came into the country illegally are going to be removed from the country.

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ALLEN: The acting director of the immigration agencies claims the media are to blame for sharing the details of the raids and forcing Mr. Trump to postpone.

Some rain fell this week but an acute water shortage is still bringing the city of Chennai, India, to its knees. Four reservoirs which supply water to the country's sixth largest city have nearly run dry. That video right there tells the story.

Groundwater levels have dropped drastically. The state government is scrambling to find solutions for the crisis and residents are finding it harder to get basic services as hospitals, schools and businesses struggle to stay open.

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ALLEN: Still ahead, a look at the lives of Asian elephants who work for humans by day and go home to live in the wild by night. One author studied the relationship between these beautiful animals and people and shares his insights with us next.

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ALLEN: An estimated 400,000 elephants are roaming the African continent right now. But in Asia, there are only about 40,000 elephants and roughly a third of them live in captivity, working for humans.

These Asian elephants, for example, helped villagers in Myanmar flee a military assault last year. Other Asian elephants are put to work in the logging and tourist industries. In the new book, "Giants of the Monsoon Forest," author Jacob Shell argues this type of work doesn't necessarily endanger the elephants; instead, in his view, it could be helping them.

Recently, I spoke with the author, Jacob Shell, and asked him about the work the elephants do and the effect it has on the animals' lives.

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JACOB SHELL, AUTHOR: In this particular region, it's a border area, heavily forested, between India and Burma, also called Myanmar. Elephants are -- have these amazing abilities in getting across really rough forest terrain.

These are areas where motor vehicles really do not have much success traversing. Even in more historical times, wheeled vehicles wouldn't have success getting across these areas. Even horses and mules, the mud can get so intense that their hooves will sink into the mud.

Elephants have an amazing ability as a way to get around for human beings riding them in these particular geographical areas.

ALLEN: What is it about elephants, other than their massive strength, that make them such useful animals to work with?

Do their personalities have something to do with it?

SHELL: That's a great question. What's needling me the whole time I was doing the research and I think has captured a lot of other researchers' attention, too, elephants are rather unique among large animals that work with humans, become work animals.

They've never been selectively bred to do it and a trained elephant or domestic elephant is genetically, biologically the same as a wild elephant. Sometimes they'll escape into the forest and sometimes they'll be captured back out of the forest or wander voluntarily back out of the forest and can go back and forth between the two states.

I think in addition to their physical size and prowess, we're talking about an incredibly intelligent, adaptable kind of species. This isn't really something that I was able to prove.

But I got a sense that something about having a trunk and the sensitivity of the trunk and the ability to wield parts and tools with their trunks, there's important parallels there between the trunk and the human hand that I think make for a kind of natural partnership, once certain individuals align themselves with elephants.

ALLEN: You also write that the humans that work with them have a close relationship with these elephants who work for them. They're more like family. But I want to talk about that. Just about now hopefully everyone has seen these tear jerking videos on YouTube, the sweetness of elephants, their family structure, the grieving they go through when they lose a family member, how they help each other out.

And you write when a young elephant is recruited to work, it's excruciating because the young elephant is taken from the family.

Are you advocating this working relationship?

Is this wholly good for the elephant?

SHELL: Yes. That's a great question. You have some work elephants who are born in captivity, so they don't go through that same kind of, as you said, grueling --

[04:55:00]

SHELL:

-- process. Some elephants are captured directly out of the wild and in some of the more kind of outlying, remote, somewhat sort of hill tribe areas that I was doing this research in, the training period in the early years can be pretty hard to learn about.

I actually tried to sort of keep watching directly somewhat at arm's length. With that said, in some of the more kind of government- controlled areas, especially in Burma, the way in which training happens is structured more around positive reinforcement.

There's quite a lot of possibility for getting a more kind of humane training system in place for elephants that are, if not born in captivity, then certainly raised in captivity.

As for whether I'm advocating this kind of thing, the book is intended as a work of scholarship. I try my best throughout most of the book to be objective and to report upon these human communities, which are oftentimes very overlooked, and their unique relationship with the elephants. But towards the last several chapters of the book, I do begin to sort of suggest that there's a lot of things that these human communities are doing, which, if we want to save the Asian elephant species and save the forestland upon which that species is dependent, we actually have a lot to learn from these human groups. In that sense, there's an element of advocacy in the book.

ALLEN: Jacob Shell, the name of your book, "Giants of the Monsoon Forest," thank you for sharing it with us.

SHELL: OK, thank you.

ALLEN: And that is our first hour. Stay with us, we're back to our top stories next and a developing story from Israel over the situation with Iran. We'll be right back.