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Trump Campaigned on Withdrawing U.S. From Nuclear Deal; Sale of King Tut Statue Angers Egypt. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 8, 2019 - 00:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. women win their fourth title at the World Cup, as the conversation now more than ever leads back to the team's fight for equal pay.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: And the U.S. President warns Iran to be careful after Tehran announces it has crossed a line set by the nuclear deal.

ALLEN: Also this hour, Greece moves to the right. The countries conservative party regains power as voters oust the left-wing prime minster.

Hello everyone, thanks for joining us. We're live from CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier, CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

So, the U.S. Women's soccer team have made history once again. They are now World Cup champions for a fourth time.

ALLEN: Hard to believe. They beat the Netherlands two nil on Sunday to extend their record for most World Cup titles.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) to another U.S.



ALLEN: Rose Lavelle there just dinging that ball into the net. Team captain, Megan Rapinoe won the Golden Ball Award, for turning (ph) to the tournaments best player. Our Amanda Davis has more on Team USA's victory from Lyon, France.

AMANDA DAVIS, CNN WORLD SPORTS CORRESPONENT: Don't let the quite calm here by the stadium fool you. Just a few hours ago this was the scene of celebrations worthy of a history making World Cup finals. As the near 60,000 capacity stadium had witnessed the USA become the second team in history defend their crown after defeating the Netherlands two nil.

The fans have now made their way back into the center of the city that dubs itself the home of women's football, as the USA's goal score captain Megan Rapinoe put it, sunglasses season is now underway. The party is getting started.

And you've got to say, it's a very well deserved party after what was an impressive performance. Even if they did have to dig deeper than maybe previous games, and more so than people had predicted against a Dutch side playing in just their second World Cup. But, at this point, they won't mind how they got there. What an achievement.

Particularly, off the back of the earlier exit at the Olympics just three years ago, when serious questions were being asked, and in this, the year being talked about as the best standard of the women's game in history.

The U.S. women have now won the World Cup four times in eight editions of this tournament. They are deservedly the team that the rest use as their benchmark. And it could have been written in the stars, Megan Rapinoe, who's written so many of the headlines off the pitch over the last few weeks, in terms of her comments over the equal pay battle, her verbal sparring with Donald Trump, though she would be the one to so calmly step up and score the penalty that broke the deadlock.

Rose Lavelle did follow-up with the second, but Rapinoe said afterwards, her side were just doing what they had to do, both on and off the pitch.

MEGAN RAPINOE, TEAM CO-CAPTAIN OOF U.S. WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM: We've done exactly what we set out to do. We've done exactly what we want to do. We say what we feel, all of us really. I know that my voice sometimes is louder, but in (inaudible) and in conversations and everybody is in this together. We are such a proud and strong and defiant group of women. I don't think we have really anything to say.

DAVIS: This tournament builds as the biggest and best Women's World Cup yet, has undoubtedly been a springboard for the women's game. For the last 20 years it's been the U.S. winning side of 1999, hailed as the role models for the next generation. Now, the team of 2019 have stepped up to raise the bar once again.

Amanda Davis, CNN, Lyon, France.

ALLEN: And the World Cup victory comes as the women's team is suing the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. As we said, they are scrappy and they're fighters and they say they deserve to be paid as much as the men, who have yet to win a single World Cup.

VANIER: And Nike is one of the many groups backing the women's fight for equal pay. The company released a powerful ad just moments after Sunday's historic victory.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that we will make our voices heard and TV shows will be talking about us every single day and not just once every four years. And that women will conquer more than just the soccer field, by breaking every single glass ceiling and have their faces carved on Mount Rushmore and that we'll keep fighting not just to make history, but to change it forever.


ALLEN: Let's talk now with CNN Sports Analyst and "USA Today" columnist, Christine Brennan. Christine, what a Sunday, hmm?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Oh Natalie, this was a terrific finish for the United States.


To a really a dream month and also to the Netherlands for unbelievable performance in the first World Cup final and really just coming on the scene in the last few years as the European Champs.

So, another new nation caring about women's soccer, but the story really was about the U.S. and their dominance throughout the pressure from the United States and really around the world as the defending champs, as the ones to beat, the ones who were, obviously, had the target that anyone else wanted to beat the, but the United States was good as they would have hoped they would have hoped they would be and they were able to pull it off.

ALLEN: And as it -- if it weren't emotional enough, then we got the Nike ad. That Nike ad had me cheer and jump off my sofa and tear up at the same time. I saw it again, I teared up and cheered again. What is it about this team that inspired Nike to do that?

BRENNAN: Nike's always kind of pushing the envelop and going out -- giving us new things to talk about and kind of cutting edge ideas. And with this one in black and white, it's very dramatic and it talks about the hopes and dreams of all those players and for girls and women, and hopefully boys and men too, watching, to be inspired, for girls to dream big. And I really do think that you cannot separate, Natalie, this U.S. Women's National soccer team from the stories and the backdrop of our culture.

And the fact that you have over 100 women in the U.S. House of Representatives now and 25 women in the United States Senate and more women running for president and this conversation about equal pay and women's rights and all of these issues that are political, they're also cultural and they also were there present for all of us to see on that field, in terms of the U.S. women fighting for equal pay, for gender equity and other issues as well.

Megan Rapinoe speaking out on behalf of gay rights and saying she didn't want to go to the White House and her walking protest of Donald Trump, it's all there, it's all encapsulated in that team, I think those same issues that we are seeing across the country and in some parts of the world, and I think that's a very important conversation for all of us to be having.

ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. They are -- they are fighters on that soccer field and they are fighters off the field as well. And their closeness and the fact that they talk about that closeness is something really important. It's not that they're just so great and they're outspoken, but what do they call themselves, 23 best friends?

BRENNAN: Well exactly, and this is one very close knit team, you're absolutely right, as were other teams, of course, in the World Cup. Some fantastic teams from countries that have cared only about men's soccer for generations and now they care about women's soccer as well.

But for the United States, Natalie, this is very much about the success story of all success stories, Title IX, signed by Richard Nixon in June of 1972, changing the playing fields of America, opening up the flood gates for women and girls to play sports just like their bothers had for generations, and what we're seeing here are strong, comfortable, confident women.

They learn how to win at a young age, even more important, they learn how to loose at a young age. Team work, sportsmanship and all of these things that give them this unbelievable confidence to speak out, to say whatever they believe and a real sense about them that I think, again, the nation has fallen in love with, what we have created with Title IX and with these teams that continue to represent us on the field of play.

ALLEN: And as you mentioned, Megan Rapinoe, the team captain's been very outspoken and what she has said about not wanting to go to the White House if they won and now President Trump has had something to say about that after the game. Let's listen to what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you invite the women's team to the White House? The soccer team?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I haven't really thought about it. We will look at that (inaudible).


ALLEN: So, there you have it. She said she wouldn't go, she felt maybe her team would stand with her in that. How does this shake out?

BRENNAN: Well, I think Donald Trump's the only person on the planet who hasn't thought about it, because it's been one of the most discussed topics surrounding this team on many of the controversies and conversations that people have had -- have include whether they would be invited to the White House and whether they would go.

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger have all said they're not going. My sense is we will not see this team at the White House. There are, I believe, who feel the same way, and I think they will stay together as a team.

As we know, AOC and other representatives are talking about having the team come to the Capital, and wouldn't that be quite a scene, Natalie.


If you have got Nancy Pelosi and any other number of these women representatives and men in the House as well as the Senate hosting the U.S. national team with some grand celebration while just what, you know, a mile and a half away or so.

ALLEN: At the White House.

BRENNAN: The president is snubbed, be very interesting to see how he reacts. I have a feeling we'll be talking more about those options as the days progress.

ALLEN: Christine Brennan, thanks so much.

BRENNAN: Natalie, my pleasure. Thank you.

VANIER: And the U.S. and Iran are locked in another round of threats and ultimatums, this after the Islamic Republic announced Sunday it's enriching uranium past levels allowed by the 2015 nuclear deal.

Here was President Trump in New Jersey.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES: Iran better be careful, because you enrich for one reason, and I won't tell you what that reason is, but it's no good. They better be careful.


ALLEN: The U.S. secretary of state also weighed in, Mike Pompeo tweeted this, Iran's latest expansion of its nuclear program will lead to further isolation and sanctions, nations should restore the long standing standard of no enrichment for Iran's nuclear program, Iran's regime armed with nuclear weapons would pose an even greater danger to the world.

VANIER: This latest stand off puts Europe in a bind, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh explains why from London.


NICK PATON WALSH, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: Well this is the second announcement from Iran, that means they're violating some of the terms of the nuclear deal, and it's the most dangerous one of the two frankly.

A week ago they said they were going to exceed the limits they're allowed on low grade enriched uranium and this time they said they were going to increase the purity to which they do the enriching.

Now currently they do 3.67 percent and that's pretty useless and certainly very far away from the 90 percent needed for nuclear weapons, today though they left out a key piece of information, to what purity are they going to do enriching?

Now they suggested in the last sort of 48 hours or so that it would be round about five percent, and that's still very far away from kind of the danger level of 20 percent from which it's easier to get to 90 percent.

But still it is quite clear that they are increasing the purity of the uranium that they are enriching. Now that sort of void in information was filled by many of Iran's opponents, Israel came forth very quickly and said that this is obviously just them pursuing an atomic bomb.

What really it seems though Tehran are looking to do by violating the terms of the deal ever so slightly but in this case a little more dangerously is put pressure on the signatures on the deal who are from Europe.

Now we know that the United States many weeks and months ago has re- imposed the sanctions that were taken off as part of the nuclear deal. In Tehran's eyes, Washington has long been violating the deal they signed together.

Now Iran are violating little bits in hoping this will pressure the European signatures to find some kind of way to alleviate sanctions pressure against Iran. Iran ideally hopes that European companies will decide to take the risk of losing their business in the United States and then continue business in Iran.

That's unlikely to happen, frankly. So now we have this troubling moment where Iran is clearly trying to step out of certain parts of that particular deal, mostly symbolically in some areas quite threateningly.

And the question of course moving forward is what next? Now they've said they won't announce what their next violation is for about another two months or so. But there's plenty of space there for escalatory rhetoric. Remember in just the last fortnight, Donald Trump almost launched strikes against Iran for downing a U.S. drone.

It's a very tense time indeed and when you're playing around frankly with adherence to a nuclear deal, the Europeans have said very clearly they want Iran to get back within the terms, it just makes the situation even more dangerous indeed.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


We turn now to Greece and the brand new prime minister who will be sworn into office in just a few hours. Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the center-right New Democracy Party swept to victory in Sunday's snap election.

VANIER: And he overtook sitting prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who's tenure in office has been rocky to say the least. Tsipras conceded defeat, while Mitsotakis vowed to ensure that Greece would be heard by Europe. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXIS TSIPRIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER: (Through Translator) We fought and achieved a lot, always with our head held high and today again with our head held high we accept the people's verdict.

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER ELECT: (Through Translator) I want a strong Greece with self confidence that will claim in Europe what it deserves, not be a beggar or a poor relative.


ALLEN: For more on the outcome of this election, journalist Elinda Labropoulou is in Athens.


ELINDA LABROPOULOU, JOURNALIST, CNN: It's the beginning of a new era in Greece, after a landslide victory today by New Democracy, a center- right party. What Greece has done through this election is it has turned its back to populism and the fire brand leftists that were governing the country until now for the last four, 4.5 years, under Syriza, a leftist coalition.


Mr. Mitsotakis, the new prime minister, is a man who claims to be a reformer. He's someone who says he will lead Greece out of the - of the crisis and the way he plans on doing that is through investment, through cutting taxes and through basically giving the report card of his good work to the Europeans and saying well can we have some fiscal space now?

It is a very different strategy to what we have been seeing in Greece for the last 4.5 years under Mr. Tsipras. Mr. Tsipras chose some more confrontational route for the Europeans, but that got him nowhere in the end.

What we saw was closed banks, talk of Brexit and a general panic in the Greek people who in hindsight have decided that maybe a milder policy is the way to achieve their goal.

And what we've also seen in today's election is generally a sense of maturity, and this maturity is very much reflected in the rejection for extremism, Golden Dawn, an extreme right party did not even make it to parliament this time.

We've seen of course that there is still nationalism around, but overall Greeks seem to have matured out of the financial crisis of the last years and have made choices based on who can deliver.


We'll talk with her live from Greece about this in our next hour. Well next here, the U.S. president says the reports are not true, how he's planning to disprove stories about conditions in border detention centers in the U.S.



Welcome back. U.S. President Trump says he is not going to bother talking about the British ambassador to the U.S. who had some less than flattering things to say about him in a series of leaked memos back to London, the ambassador wrote President Donald Trump radiates insecurity and his administration is dysfunctional, clumsy and inept.

VANIER: Kim Darroch also wrote that to deal with President Trump effectively, points need to be simple, even blunt. President Trump spoke briefly about the ambassador on Sunday.


TRUMP: The ambassador has not served the U.K. well, I can tell you that. We're not - we're not big fans of that man.


President Trump also told reporters that he plans to open some migrant detention centers to the media to disprove accounts that describe unsanitary conditions.

ALLEN: He took issue specifically with a New York Times article about the detention center in Clint, Texas. We'll get more about that from Boris Sanchez.


BORIS SANCHEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: On Sunday, President Trump dismissed reporting in the New York Times that indicates that conditions at migrant detention facilities, including ones which house minors are simply horrific, the New York Times detailing that disease, hunger and simply unsanitary conditions are rampant in these facilities, the president calling that story a hoax suggesting that the New York Times is working hand in hand with Democrats to try to plant stories that will embarrass him.

Instead the president says he believes that migrants at these facilities are happy because conditions there are better than in their home countries. Listen to more of what the president said.

TRUMP: And in all cases if you look, people that came from unbelievable poverty, they had no water, they had no anything where they came from, those are people that are very happy with what's going on because relatively speaking, they're in much better shape right now.

SANCHEZ: President Trump was also asked if he would visit one of these migrant detention facilities, he did not answer the question directly but instead suggested that he would have the press visit one of the facilities to document conditions for themselves and to try to disprove this reporting in the New York Times. Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.


CNN's Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein joins us not from Los Angeles. So Ron, it's interesting that over the past year, cameras have largely been kept out of detention centers and those detention centers have been kept out of view of the public.

But now that it is expedient to do so, Trump wants reporters to look inside the border facilities.

RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN NEWS: Well I mean, you know, once you basically said we're going to take you to X place and we're going to do it in a few days, you completely undermine the value of doing it in the first place, because obviously there's plenty of time to revise conditions, to clean things up and so forth that, you know, reporting in the New York Times today was devastating and devastatingly sourced as, you know, and consistent with what we have seen from the visits of congressional members to the border.

So, you know, I think - I think the - I think the president, you know, by saying he wants to bring the media in, the act itself kind of undermines its value.

VANIER: Do we know how this plays politically for the president? Because the family separation policy at the time and then the detention of children was one of those rare issues on which Mr. Trump had to backtrack.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, that's a good point. I mean he does not like to backtrack, but the reaction to that was so overwhelming - I think this is - this is mixed in terms of it's political impact.

On the one hand, the president has sent mixed messages himself, you know, at times he says these conditions are great, people are happy, it's better than what they left. And other times he has kind of given away the subtext by saying or tweeting that if people don't want to live in these difficult conditions, they shouldn't leave their homes.

In other words that he views the conditions in the - in the camps as a kind of deterrent as was the justification for the family separation policy originally. Obviously that has not worked, the numbers have spiked in terms of asylum seekers, and I think that, you know, overall the American public - I've been writing - sorry, I've been writing about polls on immigration for almost 30 years now.


BROWNSTEIN: And two consistent notes is that Americans are pragmatic and compassionate, but they also believe in the rule of law.

So, on the one hand, I think there is support for control of the borders, people don't want open borders, but they also don't want people to be mistreated. VANIER: Yes. Yes, and we've seen that pretty consistently over the

last year.


VANIER: Yes. I want to take you back to the leaked diplomatic cables from the British Ambassador. It looks like Trump really isn't taking the bait on this one. It looks like he's pretty to content to sit this one out.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think his response has been what we see always when he is challenged, which is to impugn the motivation and the credibility of the messenger. I mean, that is just -- that is just almost a reflex for this president. Whenever anyone stands in his way, he immediately attacks them rather than their charge.

And look, any president, I think, might not deal with this kind of portrayal, but it is something that obviously strikes a nerve with a certain portions of Americans. We've talked about this before. I mean, in some ways that the defining characteristic of the public reaction to President Trump, is that he's underperforming in perceptions of the economy.

There are people who are very satisfied with the economy, who don't approve -- say they don't approve of his performance as president, far more, by the way, than we've seen under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Far many more people say that they are satisfied with the economy, but are not satisfied with Trump's performance. And the reason they're not satisfied is everything you read in those memos.

I mean, that is -- I mean, that's why it strikes a cord, because it is a portrait that we so as Americans and (inaudible) are critical about Trump will entirely recognize.

VANIER: Does it look to you like this could be something that could do real damage to the U.S.-U.K. relationship or not? Because I'm getting the impression from both sides, if you listen to what the British Foreign Minister says and they Trump, muted answers, muted responses on both sides. It looks like they're just going to try and forget this one.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I think so. I mean, look, every -- there's probably every ambassador in the world has sent home a cable that contains at least some of these criticisms. And these governments, none the less, even the most critical governments believe they have to work with the United States of America. It's very hard to avoid dealing with the United States of America even the -- even Angela Merkle, who as you know, perhaps the most critical of Trump behind closed doors.

And so, I think every government in the world faces the same reality. They are uncertain about Trump, they view him as volatile. They view him as someone that they have to deal with in a way unlike any other president, and yet the reality is, they have to deal with him.

VANIER: Yes, and the ambassador explained to the Civil Service and to British diplomats in his memos, he said, we're probably not going to get much of the favorable -- we're not going not to get any favors from this administration. It's very much an America first administration, so maybe there wasn't much to loose in this for the Brits anyway. All right ...

BROWNSTEIN: Well look, Theresa May ...

VANIER: Sorry, go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: ... Theresa May made the effort at the beginning to try and butter up Trump and have a special relationship, and that really backfired on her domestically. He's not very popular in many countries around the world. There isn't a lot of incentive to kind of lock arms with him for foreign leaders, but inversely, as I said, they have to deal with the United States of America.

VANIER: Yes, Ron Brownstein, thank you so much. Always a pleasure to speak to you. Thanks Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Well, one country refusing to deal with the United States of America is Iran. Neither side backing down in the latest standoff. We look at why things have escalated so quickly next.



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Thanks for being with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.


Let's look at your top stories this hour, starting with this. The U.S. Women's Soccer Team has won a record fourth World Cup title, beating the Netherlands two-nil in Lyons, France, on Sunday. This is the team's second consecutive World Cup title, and they will be honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City on Wednesday.

ALLEN: Greece has a new prime minister. Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the center right New Democracy Party will be sworn into office in the coming hours. He easily beat sitting Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. In his victory speech, Mitsotakis promised to make sure Greece's voice will be heard in Europe.

VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump says Iran better be careful. The warning comes after Tehran announced Sunday it is enriching uranium past levels allowed by the 2015 nuclear deal. It says it will scale back more of its commitments after 60 days. That is if other signatories don't find a way to protect Iran from U.S. sanctions.

ALLEN: Well, this is far from the first standoff, of course, between Iran in the U.S., but tensions are at their highest level in years.

VANIER: CNN's Michael Holmes has this look at how we got here. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one of Donald Trump's longtime campaign promises. In May of last year he delivers with full force.

The U.S. unilaterally withdrawals from an Obama-era deal meant to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions. European allies remain committed; at the time, so does Iran.

Come November, crippling American sanctions that had been lifted are reimposed.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: This is part of a maximum unprecedented economic pressure campaign the United States is waging against the world's largest state sponsor of terror.

HOLMES: Less than a year later, an unprecedented move: the U.S. names Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an arm of its military, a foreign terrorist organization. Then, the campaign of so-called maximum pressure intensifies.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Any nation or entity interacting with Iran should do its diligence and err on the side of caution. The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits.

HOLMES: The Trump administration targets Iran's lifeblood, threatening sanctions on any nation that continues buying their oil.

In May, the U.S. sends an aircraft carrier strike group, bombers, and Patriot missiles to the Middle East, citing escalatory indications by Iran. Fifteen hundred troops follow, with more to come. The next month, temperatures rise further.

POMPEO: These unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security.

[00:35:03] HOLMES: The U.S. quickly blames Iran for two oil tankers attacked near the strait of Hormuz. Iran vehemently denies involvement, but the U.S. releases video they say shows an Iranian Navy boat recovering evidence of its participation.

A week later, Iran shoots down a U.S. Navy drone they say was intruding in its air space. But the U.S. claims it was in international airspace. It sparks a major escalation.

MAJ. GEN. HOSSEIN SALAMI, IRANIAN ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS (through translator): We have no intention to fight with any countries. But we are completely ready for war.

HOLMES: The next day, the U.S. nearly retaliates, Trump tweeting a military strike was, quote, "cocked and loaded" before he called it off.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't like the idea of them knowingly shooting down an unmanned drone, and then we kill 150 people. I didn't like that.

HOLMES: Then earlier this month, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar storm an Iranian supertanker believed to be carrying oil the Syria, a possible violation of European Union sanctions on Syria.

A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official says the ship was seized, quote, "at the behest of the U.S.," but Gibraltar denies that, saying it acted on its own.

More than a year since the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, a cash-strapped Iran levies pressure of its own. The country's foreign minister says Iran is exceeding the pact's limit set on stockpiles of enriched uranium. Iran won't stop, officials say, until protected from American sanctions, unlikely to ease anytime soon.

Michael Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.


ALLEN: All right. We have this one for you next. King Tut has been dead for centuries. But this likeness is generating controversy in the modern-day world of antiquities. We'll explain right after this.


VANIER: So it's that time of year again. At least three people were gored in the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

ALLEN: Three others were injured Sunday in the first of eight bull runs. It's a traditional event that's part of the Sanfermines festival, drawing daredevils from all over the world.

Two of those gored are American, the third from Spain.

I'm not in it to win it on that one.

VANIER: What do you say?

ALLEN: No. You know that's got to hurt.

VANIER: You also know it's coming. You know? You know, it could happen.

Anyway, a statue of the most famous pharaoh in history is causing a dust-up. The auction house Christie's sold a bust of King Tut for nearly $6 million Thursday.

ALLEN: But Egypt says they're profiting from stolen artifacts. CNN's Nick Glass has the controversy.


[00:40:00] NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was created as a propaganda image to strike awe among the masses. The pharaoh as deity, beautifully and naturalistically carved some 3,000 years ago. Unmistakably to those who know these things, the face of the boy king

Tutankhamun: almond-eyed, high cheek-boned, full, sensual lips.

But was Christie's right to sell this statue at auction?

ZAHI HAWASS, FORMER EGYPTIAN MINISTER OF ANTIQUITIES: This is a black day for archeology. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should be ashamed. I am angry. And you have to be angry. The whole world has to be angry, because there is no ethics here.

GLASS: Ethics or not, here was the statue for all to see under the bright lights of a London sale room. The Egyptian authorities wanted the auction postponed, saying it breached international agreements. They demanded proof that the statue left Egypt legally. They asked the auction house for documentation about the statute's provenance and say that they didn't get it.

Christie's refute this.

LAETITIA DELALOYE, HEAD OF ANTIQUITIES, CHRISTIE'S: So we have been in touch with the Egyptian authorities, of course, in Cairo and in the Egyptian embassy here, and we informed them about the sale even before the catalogue was published. And so we have a collaborative relationship with them, and we have given them all the information that we have on the piece.

Christie's has a role to play in providing a transparent and legitimate market. We would never offer a piece where there's any concern about the provenance.

HOLMES: Dr. Hawass believes that the statue was removed illegally from the Temple of Karnak near Luxor sometime after 1970. Again, Christie's dispute this. They say their research shows that the piece has been in a European collection since the 1960s.

The statues is carved from brown quartzite. Not only is it very beautiful and very rare, but the subject, of course, has been a celebrity for almost a century.

HAWASS: Tutankhamun is the king of the kings. Tutankhamun is unique. Tutankhamun is different.

HOLMES: Tutankhamun matters because he's famous. We've all heard of him because uniquely, his tomb was found in 1922 when all its golden treasures intact. These treasures will be the main attraction when the new Grand Egyptian Museum finally opens near Cairo next year.

Despite the auction, the Egyptians say, they will persist in their attempts to recover the statue.

Nick Glass, CNN, in London.


VANIER: And Christie's released a statement saying, "We recognize that historic objects can raise complex discussion about the past; yet, our role today is to work to continue to provide a transparent, legitimate marketplace upholding the highest standards for the transfer of objects."

ALLEN: And that is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. Up next, you have WORLD SPORTS [SIC]. After that, you have us again for another hour of world news. Stay with us.


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