Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Hold Press Conference Regarding Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752; Justin Trudeau: Intelligence Shows Ukrainian Plane was Shot Down By Iran; U.S. Increasingly Believes Iran Shot Down Ukrainian Airliner By Accident; U.S. House to Vote to Limit Trump's Military Action Against Iran Without Congressional Approval. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 9, 2020 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
QUESTION: Given the tensions in the area where the cause of a drone strike by the United States, do you think that the United States is at least
partially responsible for this tragedy?
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: I think it is. Too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility in whatever
proportions. Right now our focus is on supporting the families that are grieving right across the country and providing what answers we can in a
preliminary way, but recognizing that there is going to need to be a full and credible investigation into what exactly happened before we draw any
QUESTION: Earlier today, President Trump characterized -- well, he said he had concerns that the missile might have brought down the plane and he said
it was a very rough neighborhood. I was wondering what you thought of that characterization?
TRUDEAU: I will let Mr. Trump's words stand for themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go back to Ryan of the "National Post."
QUESTION: Prime Minister, we don't have diplomatic relationships with Iran, the country is already heavily sanctioned by the international
community. Are you worried in terms of trying to get good behavior like access to the site and participation in the investigation that Canada
doesn't have any levers here, that we don't have any leverage to force Iran to get better behavior?
TRUDEAU: We have consular officials who are en route to Ankara, Turkey at this moment, and the Iranian authorities have indicated that they would be
open to issuing visas so that consular assistance can be given on the ground.
TRUDEAU (through translator): There are consular officials who are on their way to Turkey and Iran has indicated that they would be open to
issuing visas so that those people would be able to come to the site to --
QUESTION: ... talk with the Iranian Foreign Minister -- was he open to allowing Canadians to be part of the investigation because their Air
Transport Authority says that we have been invited to be part of the investigation.
TRUDEAU: There has been openness to Canadian involvement in the investigation from the beginning expressed by the Iranians. But Minister
Xiaopeng will be holding a press conference in a few hours where he can answer those questions in more detail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to go to Mora Forrest (ph).
QUESTION: Sir, Just on that same question, can you be a little more specific? How confident are you that Canadian officials will be involved in
TRUDEAU: Canadian expertise when it comes to air tragedies, to expertise when it comes to crash investigation is world class. We have much to
contribute and we have lost much in the loss of so many Canadian lives. So many families across this country grieving.
We will be involved and we will offer all the expertise that we have to offer. We have already been engaged with the Ukrainians who are part of the
investigation team and Iran has indicated an openness to Canada being engaged as well, to what degree and in what way remains to be worked out.
But there is an openness there.
QUESTION: And I just wonder what you think Canadian families of the victims must be feeling now knowing that there is a good possibility that
their loved ones have been caught up in this dispute between the US and Iran?
TRUDEAU: As I said, it is unimaginable what these families are going through right now in terms of grieving just for having lost loved ones.
I know from conversations that have been had with government officials, with Members of Parliament, with my Deputy Prime Minister who has been
engaged with families in Edmonton that families are asking for answers, and that's why we are sharing what we know, as we can with Canadians right now.
But there are many more answers to be given there. There's much more to be found out through a complete and thorough investigation that we are
certainly pushing for.
But we know these families will continue to be going through extremely difficult moments over the coming hours, days, weeks, months, and indeed
years, and Canada will be there with them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Liber Thune (ph).
QUESTION: Yes, sir. Just wondering, do you regret not pushing harder to restart diplomatic relations with Iran as you had promised in the 2015
TRUDEAU: I think there were many reasons why Canada has significant issues with Iran and has for a number of years. But in this situation, it is clear
that we are coming together in the wake of a terrible tragedy that has befallen Canadians.
TRUDEAU: It has befallen many Iranian citizens as well. One can't forget that the majority of victims on that airline were Iranian citizens. And
this is something that binds us together in our grief.
And I think the desire for answers from families who lost loved ones is fairly universal, and we will be working together in the best ways that we
can around this tragedy.
QUESTION: And you mentioned that you have spoken to Prime Minister Rutte, can you talk about what advice he gave you given their experience?
TRUDEAU: He talked a lot about how it is, first of all important to keep the families who are grieving apprised of information even at preliminary
stages, which is certainly something that we are doing today.
He also talked about the need for direct and real relationships with all different elements involved in the crash. He talked about the fact that he
had multiple conversations with Russian authorities, including with Vladimir Putin in the days following the Malaysian Airlines downed.
And so we certainly have taken those and other elements seriously. Their path through an international investigation that continues even five years
later was one that he shared with me and he of course offered the deep friendship that the Dutch have with Canada to serve, to share expertise and
information and support as we embark upon what is going to be a difficult process of establishing the truth and the facts of what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bruce Campion Smith (ph).
QUESTION: Good afternoon, Prime Minister. Does the U.S. government considers this an act of war?
TRUDEAU: I think it is too early to draw definitive conclusions like that one that is why we need a complete and credible investigation.
QUESTION: Can you just walk us through when you became aware of these most recent allegations involving the aircraft, and also going forward, what
Canada's response, like are you going to speak to the leadership of Iran yourself to convey Canada's views on this and should there be an
international commission for an investigation?
TRUDEAU: We got confirmation over the course of last night and this morning on this particular set of conclusions that are shared today. But
obviously, there is much more work to be done and much more data to be analyzed and that's why the credible investigation is so important.
I think there is a call and there are in incidents of tragic crashes like these ones, multiple parties, who are mandated to be involved from
manufacturers of the airplane. France being -- the engines of the airplane being manufactured in France that gives a certain authority for the French
to be involved as part of the international investigation process.
Countries that have victims on the plane also have standing in an investigation. Canada, of course, is the country outside of Iran that has
lost the most citizens. The country of operation and ownership of the aircraft is also responsible and has a responsibility in the investigation
that involves Ukraine.
There are many different international elements in an investigation of this type and that is what we will be drawing on as we move forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, we have time for maybe two questions. So one from Rosemary Barton (ph) and then we'll go to John Iverson (ph).
QUESTION: Prime Minister obviously, you suspected, you feared the worst when you were asked whether you could rule out that this had happened. It
may have been confirmed overnight, but you obviously had your own concerns. Can you just talk a little bit about what your reaction was when it was
confirmed? Were you outraged? Can you just explain to me what went through your head knowing that, in a sense lives were taken?
TRUDEAU: My first thought is for the families, the families that we have been getting to know over these past 24 hours through news articles and
reports back from various conversations they've had with MPs, with government officials. They are already going through a terrible, terrible
And to further have an understanding that this may have been caused by a surface to air missile strike is compounding and that my thoughts instantly
went to how much harder this must make it for the families who are experiencing just a terrible amount of grief right now.
TRUDEAU (through translator): My first thoughts were for the families who are already suffering terribly after losing their loved ones. But knowing
that there may have been this additional aspect, the missile strike only makes things harder for them, so we will be there for them in this
QUESTION: Mr. Prime Minister, if it turns out to be a missile strike, Canada's options would seem to be pretty limited. Is the Magnitsky Act, a
tool that could be used against individuals who are deemed to be responsible?
TRUDEAU: I think it is too early to draw conclusions on what tools could eventually be used. Depending on the final assessment or final conclusions
of a complete investigation, our focus right now is on giving immediate support to the families, working with them to ensure the remains of their
loved ones are brought home to Canada, if that is their wishes, and indeed, move forward on a full and complete investigation so that we can then look
at next steps in the healing, accountability and justice process.
These are things that will come a new course. But right now we are standing firmly and entirely with the families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, thank you very much.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, somber, empathetic, serious and for
good reason. He just basically told the Canadian people and the world that Canada has Intelligence along with other Intelligence sources that says the
Iranians shot down the Ukraine International Airlines 737 out of Tehran in the last 24 hours, killing all on board.
In giving this announcement, he repeated in the sense what President Trump had said earlier. President Trump was far less specific. He talked about at
something awful having happened, something bad having happened.
He perhaps knowing that Justin Trudeau was going to be speaking and that it is the Canadian Prime Minister's perhaps primary responsibility, because
there were more besides the Iranian citizens, there were more Canadians on that plane than any other nationality.
Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran. Paula Newton is in Ottawa in Canada. Both are with us tonight to discuss this and let's start with you, Fred Pleitgen.
Donald Trump hinted at it. Justin Trudeau said it in words of one's syllables, the Iranians did it.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the Iranians, so far, at least from what we're hearing, the information that
we're getting, at least are not completely denying it. But they are questioning whether it is indeed the case.
We were able to, Richard, today reach the head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Authority, and he told us that he does not flat out deny that this
might have happened, but he does question whether it did.
In his mind, he says this plane took off, it was in the air for several minutes. I think it was five minutes in total. He says that according to
Iranian figures, the plane tried to make a move back to the airport after what they believe was some sort of problem and then crashed.
Now he says, if it would have been hit by a missile, according to his assessment, it would have plunged to the ground immediately, and so he has
basically said, well, if that was the case, why didn't it plunge immediately?
Of course, as you've noted, we don't have the data yet. We don't know if in fact that did happen. That's what we're hearing from the Iranians right now
QUEST: All right. Let's go to Paula, a very somber Prime Minister understandably making this announcement. And really, all he could say is he
wants a full, credible and independent investigation.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And in order to get that, Richard, I think he decided it was necessary to come out and do this
dramatic press conference. Look, it gives so much more weight to this investigation, Richard, when you have the Prime Minister of a country that
lost not just 63 Canadians, but as the Prime Minister pointed out yesterday, 138 people that were coming back to Canada, had roots in Canada,
had careers, jobs in Canada, and that is the issue.
And he made a very fine point of something, Richard, and that is the ties that bind, right? The vast majority of these people are Canadian and
Iranians. That there are many Iranians on this airplane and that's why he is calling on Iran, a country that Canada doesn't even have diplomatic
relations with to be more open about the investigation.
NEWTON: Another thing, Richard something you know so well, think about MH- 17, and really the debacle that was that investigation when it came to relations with Russia, and that's why it was important that he called Prime
Minister Mark Rutte from the Netherlands to ask for advice.
Canada has been on the front foot of this. They want a transparent investigation. They want it for the family members. They want closure, as
the Prime Minister said, and this is Canada, putting all the pressure that it can bear to try and get that investigation.
QUEST: Fred, in Tehran, look, it won't be easy for them to admit it, but they can just admit it. I mean, the Iranians can admit it. Is it likely
that if they were responsible, they would ever admit it? Or will they obfuscate and deny even in the face of the obvious?
PLEITGEN: I think that there is a possibility that the Iranians if indeed, this was a missile strike that took down this plane, as the Prime Minister
of Canada said, possibly an accidental missile strike that took down the plane, I think that there might be a chance that the Iranians would admit
it and I want to tell you why.
It's because the shooting down of a civilian jetliner here in this country is a major issue. Anybody who knows the history of the Islamic Republic of
Iran knows that one of the key events for this country was the shooting down of a civilian Iranian airliner by an American warship in the Persian
Gulf in 1988.
Since then, everywhere you go here in the city, any sort of memorials, they always remind you that they feel that Iran was treated very unfairly in
that event. They believe that the Americans took it for a long time to actually admit that they did and never really apologized for it.
So for the Iranians, this kind of event, certainly strikes extremely close to home, and that's something that politicians here of course, have to keep
in mind as well that the Iranians do have that history.
So I think, looking at Iran's history, there is a possibility of that. Of course, this is a very closed off society, very closed off state,
especially if you look at the military services, but I think looking at Iran's history, that's certainly something that's going to play into
decision making of the top brass here -- Richard.
QUEST: Fred, I'm going to let you get back to your newsgathering duties. Fred Pleitgen in Tehran. Come back to us when there's more to tell us in
Paula, stay with me. Final question for you, Paula. I listened to Justin Trudeau, but he didn't seem angry. He didn't seem -- yes, there was plenty
of empathy. But I think if I was a Canadian, I might have been wanting a little bit more firmness and steel rather than hand wringing, and just
asking for credible. I mean, you know what I'm saying?
NEWTON: Absolutely. But Richard, just to give you an indication all -- any anger that you see anywhere across this country right now is tempered by
the profound grief.
Richard, we've all seen these images of these families who are absolutely beside themselves. These stories are unspeakable about what has been lost.
Keep it in perspective, it is the second worst aviation disaster in Canadian history.
This country is grieving and as the Prime Minister repeated, he doesn't have that energy for anger right now. They are seized of trying to get that
very transparent investigation. The anger, Richard, may come later if they do not get that open investigation from Iran.
QUEST: Paula, we'll talk more about it in the hours ahead. That's for certain.
Donald Trump had earlier in the day made reference to the fact that he didn't believe the Iranians claims of what had happened. He was quite
clear, somebody did something wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have my suspicions. It was very -- I don't want to say that because other people have those
It was flying it a pretty rough neighborhood and somebody could have made a mistake. Some people say was it was mechanical. I, personally don't think
that's even a question, personally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon. And so, Barbara, the Intelligence that the President alluded to the Prime Minister confirmed. Do you know
what that Intelligence is?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, we now know from a U.S. official who is very familiar with the latest information that here is what
the U.S. does know. U.S. Intelligence assets, and that can be satellites, aircraft flying in the region, scooping up those radar and electronic
Intelligence signals over Iran, although not flying in Iranian airspace, picked up data showing that Iran had launched two SA-15 Russian made
surface to air missiles.
An Iranian Air Defense Unit on the ground had essentially locked on to the aircraft if you will. This is new information to the public, but this is
something that the U.S. knew fairly much in detail we are told by the morning after the plane went down.
STARR: They wanted to take some time to verify all the Intelligence. It's very high tech data. They have to run it through a lot of systems to make
sure of this data they are looking at and what it tells them.
The Air Defense Unit that painted on, locked on essentially directed missiles to this target, if you will, may have done so by accident. There's
no indication -- we're now hearing this from the President, from the Prime Minister -- no indication of some willful act by the Iranian military.
It may have been a fog of war. It may have been an accident. Tensions were high that night, and throughout that period of time. The Iranians on the
ground may have thought that there was some incoming attack on them, but it does look very much now like it was two Russian SA-15 surface to air
missiles operated by the Iranians that took this plane down -- Richard.
QUEST: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Barbara, please, when you have more details, come back to us immediately to talk more about it. Barbara Starr
at the Pentagon.
Now, Ukraine has been talking about this. Ukraine is appealing for evidence to explain what happened from all sources. We will have that for you in
just a moment. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Tonight, we're in Beirut. Obviously, our coverage tonight dominated by the new revelation that it
does appear that it's was an Iranian missile that brought down the Ukrainian plane.
QUEST: Welcome back. It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Tonight we are in Beirut. So the revelation tonight from the Canadian Prime Minister reinforcing what
others have said that it was or highly likely two Iranian missiles that brought down the Ukraine International Airlines 737 out of Tehran.
On the line, the Director General of IATA, Alexandre De Juniac, he joins me now. IATA is the representative body of international airlines. Director
General, you heard what Justin Trudeau said. Your immediate reaction to the fact that it seems likely this plane was brought down?
ALEXANDER DE JUNIAC, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IATA (via phone): The first reaction is -- to think that it's a tragedy for the victims and for the
families and all the beloved ones and our thoughts are with them. The third thing and for this industry, it's always a tragedy. And it's a drama.
But we have no evidence and we know nothing about a potential shot of the aircraft by any missile. We are aware of the various reports and of the
Canadian Prime Minister's statement, but we know nothing precise.
And what we are asking for is for a thorough and precise and comprehensive investigation on that terrible event. We urge the Iranian authorities to
conduct this investigation as fast as possible, comprehensively, completely, extensively. So that's our request. We owe that to the victims.
QUEST: Do you have confidence -- do you have confidence that the Iranians will do such an investigation?
DE JUNIAC: You know, under the international law, the authority, which is in charge of the investigation is the state in which the event has
happened. So it's Iran.
But you have also -- you can add, under the international law, the Chicago Convention, the state in which the plane is registered, so mainly Ukraine,
and the states in with the engine or the aircraft have been manufactured. So namely, it is U.S. for the aircraft and it Franco-U.S. companies for the
So the state of investigation can request the help of other authorities and other states, and what we really ask the Iranian government to do is if
they need technical capabilities to analyze, you know, the data coming from the black boxes, they should request it from the various competent and
highly skilled authorities in the world who are able to provide this analysis. We urge them to do it.
QUEST: So far, it would suggest that the Iranians are refusing or are reluctant to invite the Americans to take part in the investigation. They
have notified the N.T.S.B., but they haven't invited the N.T.S.B. to participate.
Tonight on this program, will you call upon the Iranians to invite the Americans as necessary to participate?
DE JUNIAC: We will call the Iranian authorities to invite all the -- all the authorities which are responsible for that and to ask for any help from
any competent laboratory which could provide the right analysis of the data coming from black boxes.
And there are several around the world authorities which are able to conduct an extensive and comprehensive analysis of the data. That is the
key issue to understand what happened for this type of event not to attend again, never. That's the safety priority part.
QUEST: Apparently, the Iranians inviting them -- right --apparently the Iranians are inviting the U.S. to at least be part of the -- or present
Finally, Director General, you run an airline, you run Air France. You've been steeped in aviation throughout your career. As you look at this, these
sort of incidents happen once every five or 10 years.
But the airline industry now needs to -- I mean, would you completely avoid Iranian and Iraqi air space for the foreseeable future, if you are running
an airline now?
DE JUNIAC: As you know, first of all we have as an airline. We have to comply with the guidance and the regulation which is issued by our own
regulator, the country in which we are registered so if it is Air France, it is France. If it is a U.S. airline, the U.S. first of all.
Secondly, when you're responsible for an airline, you try to put together all information to grab all the intelligence you can have to see whether or
not you continue to overfly some zones which could be risky because of the country or whatever.
So the point is, follow the guidance of the -- of your regulators, and, secondly, grab all the information --
RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Right --
DE JUNIAC: You can to make the right decision, you know --
DE JUNIAC: That's what we did when we had -- when we were --
QUEST: Director-general, thank you sir for joining us, very short notice.
DE JUNIAC: Thank you very much.
QUEST: Very short notice for joining us, I apologize. There's a delay, there's a terrible delay between me here in Beirut and Alexandre de Juniac
on the phone in Geneva. So, that was why it does seem like we were talking over each other, my apologies if that disturbed you. We will back in just a
moment. There's plenty more on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest, we have of course, a lot more on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. First, though, of course, the news headlines because this
is CNN, and on this network, the news always comes first. President Trump was asked about the Ukrainian Airliner that came down just minutes after
takeoff in Tehran on Wednesday.
He says he suspect that the other side may have shot it down by accident. Canada's Justin Trudeau is now saying that his officials have intelligence
that the plane was shot down by Iran. In the coming hours, the U.S. house is set to vote on a resolution aimed at limiting Donald Trump's ability to
use military action against Iran without congressional approval. President Trump signaled a de-escalation of tensions Democrats and a couple of
Republicans are still expressing concerns.
After years of bitter debate in Britain, the House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly on Thursday in favor of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's
Brexit deal, 334, 231 against. The Prime Minister now looks poised to take Britain, the U.K. out of the European Union on January the 31st. The bill
heads to the House of Lords, but it's not expected to be dramatically altered.
Thousands of people turned out in France to mark the 36-day of a national strike. Public sector workers are fighting President Emmanuel Macron's
efforts to overhaul the pension system. At one demonstration in western France, police fired teargas at the protesters.
The Canadian Prime Minister now says it is his understanding and their intelligence shows that it was Iran with two missiles that shot down the
Ukrainian International Airlines 737, which was 24 hours ago. In doing so, the 176 passengers were killed, of which 73 held Canadian citizenship. It's
not surprising when the Canadian Prime Minister spoke he was almost in shock for his country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER, CANADA: It is now more important than ever that we know exactly how such a tragedy could have happened. The families
of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers. That means closure, transparency, accountability and justice. And this government will
not rest until we get that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Ian Bremmer is with me from New York; the president of the Eurasia Group. So, as you look at the situation tonight, it would appear -- I mean,
unless everybody is wrong, the Iranians shot down this plane, probably one would hope by accident. But where does this leave us? Do you have
confidence in the Iranians ever admitting it?
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: No, it's really hard to imagine them admitting it. But we're talking about mostly Iranians, either citizens
or ethnic Iranians, having with ties to Iran that are -- that are lost. And, of course, that's going to lead to backlash on the grounds in the
country. This is a country that's gone through enormous economic depredation over the last couple of years.
Has had major demonstrations against the regime. They've had to repress quite harshly, including shutting down the internet. The government doesn't
quite completely control the media, so, rest assured, they're not getting any of the story that you and I are talking about right now. But people
will find out. And this is going to be a real challenge.
They've had a horrible week. The worst week they've seen, frankly, in many years. They miscalculated very badly by going after the Americans directly
in Baghdad and then Kirkuk, and then the supreme leader saying Trump couldn't do anything about it. And they made an enormous mistake it appears
in shooting down the civilian airliner in their airspace.
QUEST: But will -- I mean, in theory, of course, they are supposed to allow the Canadians -- the Americans highly unlikely, but the Canadians and
others to be part of the investigation, to see the wreckage, to -- and obviously, there will be the repatriation of the bodies. Now, surely, if
there is explosive residue, it will become clear from other sources than the Iranians.
BREMMER: That's right. Let's see, first of all, what kind of access is provided. You're the airplane expert here, certainly, not me. But in terms
of do I believe that the Iranians will accept and admit anything that comes out of an investigation, Richard, you know how the Russians have responded
to an absolutely clear-cut investigation in terms of the plane that was shot down by their informal forces in the southeast of Ukraine --
QUEST: Right --
BREMMER: Years ago. I cannot imagine that the Iranians are going to be particular more responsive or responsible, when it comes to the political
reaction to this tragedy.
QUEST: Your report on the balance of risks comes out at this time of the year, just ahead of us all heading off to Davos. Ian, tell me, the
relationship, obviously, you've got the cyber risks, you've got risks of, for example, the U.S. to China. But now you've got the U.S. election, the
great decoupling, geopolitical change and the like. But Ian Bremmer, doesn't this now go to the height of risks?
BREMMER: Well, I mean, we do need to recognize that if you want to rank risks, you look both at the likelihood, the eminence, but also the scale.
And the Middle East has become a lot less important to the markets over the last few years. Look at oil prices today, even with what's going on in Iran
in the last week, the Americans are pumping almost 13 million barrels a day of oil right now.
Look at where the Dow is, hitting record highs. The power in balances between the United States and Iran are extraordinary. And whether you like
Trump or you don't like Trump, whoever the American president is, the power of the dollar, the power of the markets, the power of the American military
remains the same.
And furthermore, the willingness to engage in deterrence, and also show red lines which the Iranians were not aware of a week ago, they now are. So, I
mean, frankly, we never thought that there was a strong likelihood of direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, leading to war. We
put that report out after Qasem Soleimani was killed.
And we still put it as a rather low risks and in terms of the report, and rarely said, no, we think war's not going to happen. Obviously, that's been
confirmed over the course of the last few days. The Iranians are in a horrible situation, perhaps there's a slightly greater likelihood that we
have regime shaking instability inside over the course of this year.
It's also going to push them harder --
QUEST: Right --
BREMMER: To move towards restarting diplomacy with the Americans which President Trump has tried through the French, through the Japanese, through
the Swiss and through others to engage in over the past months with little success. Maybe this time --
QUEST: Right --
BREMMER: They'll take him up on it, Richard.
QUEST: Ian, good to see you, thank you. Ian Bremmer --
BREMMER: You too --
QUEST: Joining us --
BREMMER: Get around --
QUEST: Tonight from New York, and perhaps prescient comments from Ian. He said that Iran would never accept it and will blame others. Well, when we
return, Iran is pushing back, saying that the claims of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau within the last hour are -- from the U.S. and
Canada, they are impossible. We'll hear about that in a moment.
QUEST: So, let's continue our coverage on the Iranian story. Tonight, the Iranians say it's impossible that they could have -- speaking earlier, the
head of the Civil Aviation Authority spoke to us and said, "if a rocket or missile hits a plane, it will free fall." He asked "how can a plane be hit
by a rocket or missile and then the pilot tries to turn back to the airport?"
However, the British Prime Minister is joining the U.S. president and the Canadian Prime Minister in saying, "there's now a body of information that
the flight was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional. We are working closely with Canada and our
international partners, and there now needs to be a full transparent investigation."
Dan Rose is a former Navy pilot and aviation attorney, he joins me now from New York. Mr. Rose, the lack of information from Iran, the seeming refusal
to admit this, would you expect them to admit it eventually?
DAN ROSE, AVIATION & MARITIME ATTORNEY, KREINDLER & KREINDLER LLP: I doubt it. I mean, I think the evidence ultimately is going to be overwhelming
between what we've learned in the last few hours and once investigators get to look at the wreckage, certainly, if they let the black box be reviewed.
I don't think there'll likely be a doubt as to what happened.
Obviously, they could obfuscate and try to keep the black boxes from seeing the light of day. But I think the world at that point would recognize
what's really going on and essentially a cover-up.
QUEST: So, in this case, as an aviation attorney, I mean, let's not worry so much about litigation at the moment because I'm not entirely certain who
-- I mean, who one would sue or anything like that. But let's stick to the bigger picture. I mean, Iran -- if Iran doesn't follow through with its
obligations for a full and transparent investigation, there's not much anyone can do, is there?
ROSE: No, there really isn't. I mean, you know, it's not -- it's not the only area that it's been difficult to, you know, cajole Iran into, you
know, behaving in a -- as normal countries in the world do. So, I don't think anybody should be surprised that if there's an investigation into
what seemingly is a shoot-down, that they're responsible for, that, you can expect cooperation.
But that shouldn't deter anybody from pursuing it, certainly, any of the investigators and even, you know, lawyers on behalf of families. I mean,
the -- you know, it's not without precedent -- and for instance, you look at the Vincennes, when we accidentally shot down an Iranian aircraft, you
know, at the end of the day, we did the right thing and the families were compensated.
So there is precedent for Iran acting as part of the family of nations, but will they do it? I doubt it.
QUEST: If -- I mean, there are more than 60 Canadians, citizens on board. I suspect initially, there will be litigation, people like yourselves will
be looking to issue proceedings. But who would you be suing? I mean, is this Ukraine -- it's certainly not Ukraine Internationals liability, is it?
Where would it be? The Iranians, obviously.
ROSE: Well, there's certainly some fault on behalf -- on the part of the airline, I mean, to let the airline take off, the aircraft take off in the
middle of essentially a war zone is at least partly their responsibility. Of course, they didn't -- you know, they didn't think they would get shot
down. But, you have to think reasonably in a situation like that.
And when you're hours away from a missile attack and the source of that attack is now a potential target from the United States, I don't see how
you think it's reasonable, and in fact, I would argue it's reckless, for an airline to take off in that situation. I mean, the U.S. had issued warnings
QUEST: Right --
ROSE: For all -- our aircraft not to fly over that area. Before this aircraft took off. So, sure, there's recourse against the airline, whether
there's recourse against Iran is a lot tougher, but we've -- you know, we've been successful in cases like that as well. And they're not
traditional, but there are ways to do it.
QUEST: All right, David -- and so, Dan, please do come back, talk us through this in the future, certainly as any cases proceed, it will be
fascinating for us to follow it through. Thank you.
ROSE: Be happy to.
QUEST: Now, one other big story that has been gripping us throughout the course -- our course of the day, the royals and the Duke and Duchess of
Sussex's decision basically to say, we quit.
QUEST: New tonight, CNN has learned that, her majesty the queen asked Prince Harry not to issue the statement in which he and his wife Meghan
Markle; the Duchess of Sussex announcing that they were stepping back or standing down from senior royal duties, and hope to become financially
independent. CNN's Kate Williams is in London for us tonight. Well, this is quite extraordinary.
I mean, throughout the course of the day, it was portrayed that there was no consultations. But now, we're learning that the queen asked them not --
asked Harry not to do it yet, and he did it anyway.
KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Extraordinary. You have the word there, Richard. This story has been, as you say, gripping -- well, gripping
the world, really, and certainly, there's nothing else being talked about in London even though there's much other news. It is a huge story, and it's
constantly evolving, Harry and Meghan took us by surprise with that statement yesterday.
Then there was that very terse statement last night from the palace, saying that things were in an early stage, then as you say suggestions that they
haven't known. And now suggestions that they claim they did know, and Harry went ahead and pulled the trigger anyway, did it anyway. And certainly,
we've always known that Harry does what he wants.
And I think in this respect --
QUEST: Yes --
WILLIAMS: Partly he did it because he felt he was -- the newspapers had it, but he felt that if people were delaying him, stopping him, he wants to
do it himself and do it his way. And certainly, he has.
QUEST: But to disrespect the queen -- I've heard Harry in many interviews talk about his respect for her majesty. But if she -- if the queen asked
and he didn't, I mean, this almost is a fissure that will be very difficult to put back together.
WILLIAMS: Well, yes, we've seen all kinds of briefings today, which I have to say have really shocked me, considering some of those stuff that's been
going on with the royal family over the last year or so, that there's been disappoint -- words about disappointment, there are words saying the --
QUEST: Right --
WILLIAMS: Court here saying that -- court is saying Harry and Meghan should be punished, I don't know what that's supposed to mean. But now,
actually, we've had some more news in --
QUEST: Right --
WILLIAMS: Because I've been saying, look, sorry, go on -- as I've been saying, look, you know, they need to work together.
QUEST: I know --
WILLIAMS: The royal family, they need to work together, and we've had news that they are now in crisis talks discussing this matter, trying to find a
solution because certainly, Harry and Meghan, there's been a lot of outpouring --
QUEST: Right --
WILLIAMS: Of support, and the royal family don't want to lose them entirely. That would be a bigger mistake.
QUEST: At the end of the day, if they sort of head off towards Canada or North America as some sort of celebrities, we'll talk more about it, as we
speak over the next few days, many thanks, Kate, for joining us in --
WILLIAMS: Thank you --
QUEST: London tonight.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
QUEST: A very busy day as you can hear, we'll have a profitable moment after the break.
QUEST: Finally, before I leave you tonight, so, a stunning development that has taken us all by surprise. The Canadian Prime Minister pretty much
stamping and sealing the fact that two missiles from Iran brought down the Ukrainian plane, the 737, with tremendous loss of life. This isn't the
first time this has happened.
Let's be clear about that. MH-17, KAL 007, there have been a number of cases, well-known cases where planes have been brought down inadvertently
by accident, but through military action. But in all cases, and in many of them, it has taken years for the truth to come out and compensation to be
paid. That must not be allowed to happen this time.
We now know from history just how these things happen, and how painful they can be. But that pain can be so much allieved if there's a prompted mission
and detailed negotiations for the recovery of remains, and then ultimately, the payment of compensation. Iran may have brought down the Ukrainian
plane, but it's never a wrong time to do the right thing.
And that would be -- admit it, return the corpses and the bodies of those to their loved ones. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight, I am
Richard Quest in Beirut.
Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, of course, there's the closing bell from the New York Stock Exchange.