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Interview With Friend Of Evan Gershkovich And The Financial Times Reporter Polina Ivanova; Interview With Friend Of Evan Gershkovich And The Guardian Reporter Pjotr Sauer; Interview With The Atlantic Staff Writer David Frum; Interview With International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi; Interview With Israeli Peace Activist And The Parents Circle Families Forum Spokesperson Robi Damelin; Interview With The Parents Circle Families Forum Spokesperson Bassam Aramin. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 29, 2024 - 13:00   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to, AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.

One year in captivity. As American journalist Evan Gershkovich remains behind bars in Russia, I speak to his friends who are campaigning

tirelessly for his release.

Then, "Miranda's Last Gift." Former presidential speech writer David Frum joins me to discuss his latest peace, detailing the devastating loss of his

daughter and the gift of her pesky dog, Ringo.

Also, ahead --


RAFAEL GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: Iran is accumulating vast amounts of highly enriched uranium.


GOLODRYGA: Nuclear diplomacy around the world. Walter Isaacson talks to Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi

about Iran's nuclear capabilities.

And --





GOLODRYGA: -- on Good Friday, hope from grief. We look back at Christiane's conversation with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists,

Robi Damelin and Basam Araman.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the program. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

This is the front page of today's "Wall Street Journal." It's blank, with the simple headline, his story should be here. It marks one year since

American journalist Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia on espionage charges, an accusation the journal and U.S. government strongly deny.

In reality, he was simply doing his job as a reporter, only to end up as one of Putin's pawns, kept behind bars as the bargaining chip.

In an interview released today by the "Wall Street Journal," Editor-in- Chief Emma Tucker asked his parents if they thought it was getting harder for him as time passes. Here's what his mother said.


ELLA MILMAN, EVAN GERSHKOVICH'S MOTHER: I'm sure it takes toll. It takes a toll on us. It's definitely the take toll of him. He worries about us so

much. He wouldn't really reveal a lot, but we still know that it's taking toll.


GOLODRYGA: And as his parent's campaign tirelessly for his release, so do his colleagues and friends. Two of those friends are journalists, Polina

Ivanova and Pjotr Sauer. They join me now from Berlin. Welcome both of you.

I'd be remiss to note that Berlin holds a special place for both you and for Evan. It was this time last year where he was supposed to be meeting up

with his friends in Berlin, and you commemorated this day, this horrible milestone. Together, in Berlin, at Brandenburg Gate. Polina, talk about the

fact that this has been a year, years now, since your friend was taken from you, from his family, from doing what he loved to do and accused of

something there is no evidence of.

POLINA IVANOVA, FRIEND OF EVAN GERSHKOVICH AND REPORTER, THE FINANCIAL TIMES: It's completely -- it's hard to get your head around it. Sometimes

I try to really imagine just what a day in that kind of -- in those kind circumstances might feel like, a day in total isolation and then a week and

then a month and now, it's a whole year that Evan has been away from all of us, from his family, his work, unable to cover some of the big stories that

have been breaking in Russia over the past year and do his job, the job that he loves so much and spent time with us.

So, yes, Berlin is important. It was the place that Evan was supposed to visit and we were, you know, planning that trip and suddenly he was taken

from us exactly a year ago. So, it's hard.

GOLODRYGA: And Pjotr, his employer, "The Wall Street Journal" and a piece today sums up the stolen year and what it has deprived him of and I'd like

to read from it. Evan has lost 12 months of normal existence as a kinetic and curious 32-year-old. The year he should have been jetting around Europe

and the U.S. between groups of friends, his family and his reporting trips to Russia. There has been a burst of weddings and engagements of friend

from high school and college. He has missed a year of monumental changes and an intrigue in Russian reporting, a cornerstone of many of his

friendships with reporters and a key part of this identity.

He missed the year in Arsenal, his football team, the Mets and the Jets, and his favorite teams. He has missed the final episodes of "Succession,"

the finale of "Ted Lasso," and the 16th season of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."


And Pjotr, I wonder how you, as a friend who has continued your life, as you should, while also working tirelessly for the world not to stop

focusing on Evan and for his ultimate release, how has this felt for you, knowing that life has gone on and he's been stuck in a Russian prison?

PJOTR SAUER, FRIEND OF EVAN GERSHKOVICH AND REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: Yes, it's extremely difficult. There are days, of course, when you feel guilty

that, you know, you're out here and you can be outside enjoying the sun, like the other day, like today, and Evan is stuck 24 hours a day in a tiny

cell, really. And, you know, you just listen to all the things that Evan has missed.

And, you know, as Polina said, there's all these stories that he should have covered. And the world is really missing out on Evan, not just the

person, but also Evan the journalist. You know, he was a fantastic and is a fantastic journalist.

But, you know, what we try to do is to keep him involved in our lives as much as possible. We send him letters on a weekly basis, and he sends

letters back to us. Over 5,000 people from around the world have sent letters to Evan, and we make sure they get to him by translating them into

Russian, as required by a Russian law.

GOLODRYGA: I've been one of those.

IVANOVA: Yes. And he really -- I would add, he just -- yes.

GOLODRYGA: Go ahead, go ahead.

SAUER: Yes, yes. Exactly. Yes.

IVANOVA: Exactly. Yes. No, just -- we try and sort of describe our lives to him, and he also stays really involved himself. You know, he remembers

all of our birthdays. He manages to care about all the major events in our lives, help us make, you know, life decisions. And, you know, he feels like

a constant presence even though he's so far away.


GOLODRYGA: I was going to say --

SAUER: Yes. He sent Polina a letters --


SAUER: Go ahead.

GOLODRYGA: And he sent -- and thanks to you, and I myself have felt guilty, because had it not been for Evan's detention, I wouldn't have come

to know the two of you and your wonderful circle of friends, just brilliant young journalists. And I really commend you for being able to pursue your

very important work. You've been traveling the world still as journalists, but also focusing on Evan and making sure the world hasn't stopped covering

this story. So, hats off to you.

And as I noted, I sent Evan a letter and I was so surprised that I actually got a response from him as well. Polina, talk to us about how he's been

doing. You know, it is stunning. I will never get over the fact that a human being in a Russian courtroom sits there behind a glass cell and cage

and is looked upon like an animal.

And yet, there you see on the other side, a stoic, poised young man who has a smirk on his face at times, in a way sending a message that I'm OK. How

is he doing? Is he OK?

IVANOVA: He really is. He's a super resilient guy. I mean, I often think, you know, with one of us, we'd really struggle. I mean, he's amazing. He's

very strong. He's very focused and determined. He has -- you know, he has this routine that he's built for himself. He has -- you know, he reads, he

writes letters. He makes sure to write to people that he cares about. And he spends most of his time reassuring us and trying to support us, you

know, thinking about how we're doing, which just is such a strength of character.

It's really amazing He doesn't let himself kind of get too down. And considering the circumstances, that's real feet. It's a real feat.

SAUER: You know, at the same time, of course it's 365 days. And as Ella has said, it's taking its toll. You know, for anyone really, even for such

a strong man like Evan, it takes a toll. And that's why, I think, we are encouraged that today U.S. President Joe Biden said it that he will not

give up on Evan and will do everything to get him out.

You know, and we just want our friend back. And, you know, every day is too long for a journalist to be imprisoned in Russia on absurd false charges.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, he's been held in the fort of a prison. He gets one hour a free time, that is outside, and I believe a six-by-six area where he is

able to exercise and he has a cellmate. We know that he's been reading, he's been corresponding with you, he's been meditating.

We should also note that his pretrial detention was just extended for a fifth time now through the end of June. And not one shred of evidence has

been presented by Russian prosecutors. Important to note as well. All they've done is accuse him of doing something without providing any

evidence. But that shows you where Russia's legal system is at this point in Putin's regime.


You mentioned hope and optimism about something, something done between the U.S., perhaps a prisoner swap, negotiations between the two sides, to see

Evan's release. I want to play for you sound yesterday, from Christiane's interview with Roger Carstens, he's a special presidential envoy for

hostage affairs at the State Department, and he sounded a note of optimism. I'd like to play what he said.


ROGER D. CARSTENS, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR HOSTAGE AFFAIRS: I would hope that they're extending it so that we have another 90-day period

in which to seek ways to come up with a deal that will bring both Evan and Paul Whelan home.

I can say that we've had seen in the past that once a trial starts in Russia, the Russians will usually follow through. And so, if the trial

process starts with Evan, that might take us into about a seven, eight, nine, 10-month period where we may have a harder time trying to make a

dealing to bring him home. So, I think to my mind, I'm hopeful that the Russian's are thinking that in the next 90 days, they can work with us to

come up with that deal that brings him home before the trial actually starts.


GOLODRYGA: So, there you see he's hopeful. The Biden administration says they're doing everything they can. But "The Wall Street Journal," the

publisher of "The Wall Street Journal," its CEO today said that, until he is out, not enough is being done and more needs to be done.

Pjotr, how do you feel about this process? Are you optimistic? Do you think that the U.S. government is doing everything they to bring Evan home?

SAUER: Well, I think it's quite simple. As long as he is in jail, more can be done. You know, he's either free or he's in a jail. And at the moment,

he is still in the jail. You know, we are encouraged by the statements that you just played yesterday. There seems to be a window of opportunity now

for 90 days. This seems crucial.

And we do really hope the White House puts all its resources in getting our friend home. You know, he's not just -- I'm not talking just as a friend,

but Evan was there in Moscow doing the world a public service by covering Russia, you know, risking his life for us. So, I think now it's so

important to make sure he's out of the country.

GOLODRYGA: Polina, in your exchanges with Evan, how up-to-date and up to speed is he in the process of where things stand, of what's being said by

the U.S. government in particular?

IVANOVA: We try to not discuss the details of those things. I know that he is following the news. So, he has a TV, he had state media, he has Russian

state, he has newspapers. So, has that kind of information. And he does meet regularly with his lawyers.

You know, on state media, he will have seen several occasions where Putin has spoken on camera about Evan's case, spoken about how there is -- you

know, the Russian government sees his case as one for an exchange. And you can only try and -- you know, it boggles the mind to try to imagine sitting

in a prison in Moscow, watching Vladimir Putin discuss your fate on state television. I mean, it's -- you know, this is -- yes, it was a lot to


But so, he's obviously in the loop, and he has news. He has these media sources, but we don't talk about the specifics.

GOLODRYGA: And, Pjotr, in last moments we have together today, just remind our viewers of Evan's passion for reporting, his passion on reporting in

Russia in particular, where -- that's -- you know, his family's from the former Soviet Union, he has a clear connection to the country, a love of

the culture.

Vladimir Putin doesn't see this side of reporters in the county and their necessity, but we do. So, remind our viewers of that.

SAUER: Well, I worked with Evan side by side for three years at the Moscow Times, an English-language newspaper where we both started our careers some

six years ago. And I've seen what a professional journalist he is. He cares deeply about the story, about getting the facts right, about letting the

world know about Russia. A country understands like no other. That's something, you know, Vladimir Putin doesn't know, but we do know. And, you

know, as long as he's there, the word is missing out on his excellent reporting.


IVANOVA: Pjotr and Evan did amazing work together, shared some great bylines. Yes, Evan has always understood Russia with so much nuance and

written about it, with so much depth and given every character, every person who's in his story, so time and space to express themselves. And

it's just a real shame that someone who has given so many time, and dedication to the country should now be behind bars.

GOLODRYGA: And such a passion for the Russian cuisine as well. I myself, my heritage is for the Soviet Union. There are some foods, I guess a lot

(ph) Olivier, that apparently he has a killer recipe for. I'm dying to meet him and to have a reunion with you his family and to see finally justice

served for this man who's been deprived of a year of freedom for only doing one thing and that was his work as an accredited journalist in Russia.

Polina Ivanova and Pjotr Sauer, thank you so much for your time, for your resilience, and I'm so grateful to have gotten to know the two of you and

your circle of friends this past year. You truly are remarkable friends.


SAUER: Thank you so much --

IVANOVA: Thank you, Bianca.

SAUER: -- for having us.

IVANOVA: Thank you. Yes.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you. Well, we turn now to an immensely personal story of life, death, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In his latest piece for

"The Atlantic," David Frum writes about his daughter Miranda, who died suddenly in her Brooklyn apartment last month.

At just 32 years old, she was about to celebrate five years of survival after a rare tumor was successfully removed from her brain. "Miranda's Last

Gift," David writes powerfully about what made her so special, the overwhelming grief of losing a child, and taking in her fiercely loyal dog,


David and Ringo Frum, welcome to the Program.

DAVID FRUM, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Thank you. This is a high risk experiment we're conducting.

GOLODRYGA: Well, let's see where this takes us. First of all, David, my condolences, my deepest condolences to you and your family. I'm so sorry

that we have to speak under these circumstances. I was just mesmerized and moved to tears as so many were by your very moving words. I've obviously

known you as an eloquent speechwriter on politics, and I wish that that's where you could focus now. But instead, you've gifted us with the memory of

Miranda and now with Ringo.

Can you please just tell us in these first few moments about Miranda, your incredible daughter?

FRUM: Thank you. Miranda was the eldest child of my wife, Danielle, myself. Danielle and I have been married since 1988. Miranda was born in

1991. She worked as a fashion model in Israel, in Italy, in Turkey, in Japan. She worked as a writer. She had a social media business.

She was a very dynamic and very, very brave young woman. She covered the Hamas war in 2014. And at the same time as she was doing photoshoots under

rockets. She was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor in 2018 and underwent surgery in 2019. And as you say, we really thought we had got this thing

beat, but we were wrong.

The reason I wrote about it, this experience, because how can you -- in a world full of suffering -- I mean, you just told the terrible story, an

American reporter in Russia, in a world full of suffering, how can you claim people's attention for one person's problems? And I cried when I

wrote about this, to find something universal in what had happened to us.

GOLODRYGA: And that is Ringo, right there. Something small to write about something so big.

FRUM: You need to -- you can't write about big things like this.


FRUM: It's too much. It's too much for the writer, it's too much for the reader, it's too painful. But you can take a little thing. And the bond

between a young woman and her dog, whom we now inherit, and who is not a model citizen, I just want to make clear about that. It's a kind of a

miracle he's in my lap this long. My wife is feeding him cheese off camera in the film.

But this is a -- these are stories we all have. We are all, sooner or later, going to join the community of suffering and we're all going to need

sources of strength, and this guy's one of them.

GOLODRYGA: How far you've come as assistant number two. Ringo is doing well so far. So, let's take this conversation forward. You know, after

reading your piece I really became curious to learn more about Miranda. I'm sure everybody did. I tried to search her and look her up and find more and

more as much as I could about her.

And thanks to your reporting and your essay and your wife telling her followers and reminding of her followers of a podcast that she had Miranda

on about dating apps and whether or not they're the death of romance and courtship. I ended up listening to the entire podcast because I was just so

entranced by Miranda, her humor, her relationship with her mother, which I could tell was very close and at times a bit uncomfortable given the

context of the conversation. I want to play a clip from it, because Ringo is mentioned as well.


MIRANDA FRUM: I don't think there's anything more thrilling than being picked up at a bar. I mean, that's not -- or a lounge or like a high-end

place or a cocktail party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miranda, I don't know how that came out to your mother.

M. FRUM: Not like in a (INAUDIBLE) weird way. Just like, you know, a guy that you're looking at, he's looking at you. It's age appropriate. It's

cute. He comes over and he just starts chatting you up. I can't tell you how many times people have been like, so tell me about your furry friend.

And it's like, this is Ringo. He's three. No, he's not a dog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're talking about a dog. Let's just be clear, we're talking about a dog. You're not into furries.

M. FRUM: Yes.



GOLODRYGA: David, what comes to your mind when you hear that?

FRUM: Miranda was always the sharpest wit in every room. She is so, so funny. And her jokes about Ringo were, Ringo, he's got very short little

legs, and he would sometimes try to jump onto the furniture, and he would sometimes miss, and she would look around and then reassure him, don't

worry, no one saw.

GOLODRYGA: She also called Ringo the best gift you and your wife ever gave her, including the gift of life. And I was listening to an interview that

you gave yesterday about this, and you said that obviously with the loss, like as profound as a daughter, a child, that -- what goes through your

mind so much is guilt, and what I should have said or what I could have done in certain moments.

FRUM: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: But when you see that what -- Ringo, what she described as the best gift ever that you could have given her there with you now, I'm sure

that gives you a lot of joy as well.

FRUM: He gives us a lot of joy. He gives us a lot of trouble. But he's our way to keep a connection to her forever. And I think what I said at the end

of that piece was, you know, he doesn't have a lot of respect for me, but we're bonded together, and I work for him now as assistant number two.

Miranda's joke was, like once said, I feel like his assistant, and she said, you're not -- you know, your mom's assistant number one, he's a

Hollywood dog, he's got multiple assistants, your assistant number two, and that nickname stuck.

GOLODRYGA: What's interesting, Assistant Number Two, is that when you first gifted Ringo to Miranda, you didn't think that he was a good fit for

her. Walk us through the arc of that relationship, because I was really touched when you described his behavior and how he seemingly sensed that

she needed comfort and attention and for him to remain calm in the moments right after her surgery, he understood what was going on.

FRUM: Dogs understand this, and that is the, I think, universal bond. He was with her through every moment of her surgery. The Stanford Medical

Center allowed him to keep vigil with her. He understood that her head had to be kept motionless. And this dog who is high maintenance, I just -- I

cannot tell you how high, he was a changed animal. He lay there quietly. He watched over her. And that is what these animals do for us and how they are

crucial to all of our healing.

And the universal in the story, I mean, they were -- I mean, I had imagined a kind of more gentle, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We didn't pick the

dog. We just -- we sent the check to the breeder. We were a little alarmed by the dog she picked out. But they were kindred spirits. Miranda also was

an adventurer. Miranda also was someone who sees life like as Ringo does. And she was someone who inspired tremendous love from a circle of friends

that spans the planet.

GOLODRYGA: And Ringo was with her in her last moments as well, and you write so painfully and beautifully of the flight back to Canada and his

remaining with her body.

FRUM: It's a very real thing to move a body from. She died in Brooklyn. She was laid to rest in Rural Ontario. And Ringo somehow understood that

this was his mistress, and even though she was no longer a spirit, just a body, he lay on her through this flight. Then at the end of the flight, he

jumped off her and into my wife's lap, as if to say, it's now up to you to take care of me.

GOLODRYGA: Are you surprised by the way this piece has touched so many people? I mean, living in such a polarized world right now, obviously you

were affiliated with one of two parties in this country, and it seems like there has just been universal support at a time where any time politics is

raised or discussed, you know, one of the two parties is an enemy, and that's not the case here.

FRUM: Well, I was very apprehensive about the article, because again, I'm nervous to ask -- in this world of trouble, to ask for attention for one's

own trouble. And so, I was very apprehensive about the piece, and I've been so touched.

And I think, I wrote it -- it took a while to go through the production process, I wrote the piece in about five hours in the first draft, and just

to pour out how I felt, and I think I touched on things that a lot of people feel.

And so, that's when -- we consume now, my wife and I, a lot of writing about grief, and what you're looking for always is someone who has said

something that you can use. And we've become a collector of things. And one of the things that was most powerful to us is we had a call from someone we

know very, very slightly who had also lost his daughter at almost exactly the same age as Miranda. His daughter was 33. He's an agent in Hollywood.


And he said, you know, if the angel of death would come to you now and say, I can bring your daughter back, if you agree to jump off a building, you'd

do it without a hesitation, with a smile on your face. He said, but that's not on the table. And we've been quoting that line over and over. Yes.

About what's on the table and what's not on the table.

And what I hope I was able to do in this "Atlantic" article is to show other people in grief what may be on the table for them, what we can

achieve, how we can find some continuing joy and how we can honor the people we've loved and lost by taking care of what was important.

GOLODRYGA: What has life been like with Ringo? Has he adjusted to living with assistant number one and two? As Miranda said, he loves you, he just

doesn't respect you. Do you feel that respect building a little bit now?

FRUM: No, but we do have quite a lot of dogs right now. So, he's now part of -- we have two dogs of our own. My son has been living with us since we

lost Miranda with his dog. So, there's now a pack. And the pack has imposed a little bit of discipline on Ringo. So, although, he doesn't come when I

call him, when he hears the call of the pack, he does -- we do walk more together.

But I wouldn't describe him as a reformed animal. Just this -- the other day, he picked up a piece of metal, heavy metalwork and try to bite it and

then when it wouldn't yield to his bite, he carried it around with him and he dropped it. He bites lots. What can I do?

GOLODRYGA: I am just blown away given how you described him in this piece with how well-behaved he's been throughout this entire interview, it's as

if he knows the subject matter. And despite the lack of respect he has for you, his enormous respect and love for Miranda is what's prevailing.

FRUM: Also, assistant number one is about four feet away. And she's --

GOLODRYGA: I see her hand. I see her hand feeding him something every few minutes. David, listen, I'd love to have you on to talk about politics. I

think there's a lot that stood out to me in this piece as well, about health care, about Obamacare.

Listen, just to be civil with one another and have compassion. These are all issues that Americans care about, and we have an important election

coming up. So, I hope you can join us again one day with or without Ringo, and we could talk about politics.

FRUM: Next time without him.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, but for today --

FRUM: Next time without him.

GOLODRYGA: -- it was about beautiful Miranda. And again, our thoughts are with you and your family, and thank you so much for bringing her into all

of our lives. And Mr. Ringo too. Thank you.

Well, coming up next, to the use of nuclear power in our ever-changing world. The first ever Nuclear Energy Summit took place in Brussels last

week, with several European countries calling for more growth in the sector, hoping that it could help hit climate targets and reduce reliance

on Russian gas and oil.

But this comes at a time when concerns are growing about Iran's and China's nuclear capabilities. In part two of this conversation with Walter

Isaacson, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi discusses what we should and shouldn't be worried about.


WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Rafael Grossi, welcome back to the show.


ISAACSON: Well, let's talk about Iran. Last month your agency said, I think, that Iran had actually reduced its quantity of weapons-grade

nuclear, while sort of expanding its whole nuclear program. Tell me, does that mean we're getting into a better position vis-a-vis Iran, or are you

still pessimistic?

GROSSI: Not necessarily. Of course, we informed that because we are objective and we have to inform what the inventory in terms of enriched

uranium actually is without speculating or politicizing. We are like an international auditor, if you want.

So, we said that, but because it was a report that was coming after another report of a previous quarter. But the general trend is a trend of increase

of nuclear material enriched at a very, very high level. So, the Iran issue is a very complex one. It has many, many aspects, not only the amount of

enriched uranium, which is very important because this is the stuff from -- you know, which nuclear weapons are made, or at least essentially for its

explosive capacity. But there are other things that have to do with the capacity that my inspectors have to have a full visibility of what is going

on there.


And this is what I have been saying has been steadily reduced. We are there. I don't want to mislead you or confuse the audience. The idea is

there. We are expecting -- not expecting at the levels and with the depth that we should be given the nature of that program.

So, you know, I'm telling my Iranian counterparts, we want to engage, we want to reignite this process. Diplomacy is indispensable. As you know, the

agreement that existed, the so-called JCPOA that had been signed in 2015, among the five permanent members of the Security Council in Germany has, in

essence, abandoned or it hasn't been declared dead, but it is an empty shell at the moment. Nobody is following its provisions. And there is no

diplomacy. There is no conversation.

And yet again, the IAEA is the only link that provides some visibility of what's happening there and trying to bring people together. So, we are

worried. At the same time, we are cool-headed and we are, you know, persevering in our desire to engage more diplomatically with Iran. This is


ISAACSON: Does that mean there's some possibility in your mind we could get back to that joint agreement that we had with Iran?

GROSSI: I don't know if we will -- I mean, it's up to the parties. I mean, I'm not a party to that agreement. I was the inspector of that agreement.

So, we were expecting what they agreed politically. So, I'm not at the political table. I am at the technical table. And they can go back to that

or have something else. Everything is possible.

One thing I should say, and it's that, that agreement, back in 2015, was predicated upon a certain number of -- or a certain type of technologies

and capacities and capabilities, but this was 10 years ago.

So, 2024, 2025, almost, is 10 years after that agreement was signed. So, Iran has now much faster, more efficient, more performing centrifuges. Iran

has more facilities producing the parts of those, is developing, constructing new sites where the nuclear activities are taking place.

So, the spectrum, if you want, of that agreement is clearly superseded at this point. So, maybe for political reasons, they will continue to say, we

have to go back to that agreement, OK, fine with us. But the reality is that the Iran of 2015 is not the Iran of 2020.

ISAACSON: The main role of your agency when it comes to Iran is as inspectors to try to figure out exactly what's happening there. And you say

you've been suffering from a lack of transparency. I want to read you a quote, which is kind of a frightening quote, and have you explain it. You

said, the agency has lost continuity of knowledge in relation to Iran's production and inventory of centrifuges, rotors, bellows, heavy water, and

uranium ore content.

That seems pretty bad. What happens when you push the Iranians and say, we have to have more transparency?

GROSSI: Well, they tell us you cannot see that because this was part of the JCPOA verification mandate or permissions, if you want, that the agency

used to have. So, JCPOA was abandoned. Here's our retaliation. You cannot do this -- you cannot perform these functions anymore.

My argument, why they do not deny that this may be a fact, is a different one. My argument is that the more we continue in this situation with Iran

growing its capacities and producing all these things that you mentioned, the more difficult it will be if one day, and we hope that will be the

case, the actors that be, the powers that be, Washington, London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, want to go back to an agreement. The first thing they will

say is, they will say, heavy segregation (ph), please go to Iran and tell us exactly what do they have. So, we know what we should cut or restrict or

leave it, isn't it? It's a simple logic.

And at this point, with all this activity that takes place without my eyes and ears having access to that, how am I going to do that? So, this is an

argument that I also use, if I can use the verb, with my Iranian counterparts.


I tell them, listen, you'll keep saying that you want to go back to an agreement. If you keep not allowing me to do my job now, the day when you

want to go back, I will not be able to sign anything on the door. Like, this is clear. I will have to know exactly. Otherwise, instead of an

agreement, you will have an illusion of an agreement.

This is why it may be a bit techie. It may sound a little bit obscure (ph), all of this, but it's very concrete. We need to restore the verification

capabilities now so that we can have a more stable situation in the future.

ISAACSON: Well, wait, what if Iran won't do that? What can be done?

GROSSI: If Iran does not do that, we will be approaching a point where the agency will be -- or I will have to say that I am prevented from giving the

credible assurance that are needed, that we know exactly that the Iranian nuclear program is entirely in fiscal (ph) uses, because I will have lost

this ability. I will not do that.

Let me give you a reference. In the 1990s -- 1980, late 1980s, that happened in Iraq, where the agency believed and the world believed that

everything was correct. But many things were happening without the inspectors and my predecessors knowing it.

We learned from that sad experience. We don't want to go back to that. I don't think it's in anybody's interest, including us, starting with Iran,

both. I want to begin. So, you know, shutting inspectors out, telling inspectors go away is never, never a good idea.

ISAACSON: I read somewhere that Iran has the capability, I think, of creating with its program 13 nuclear weapons, seven within the month of a

breakout. In other words, if they break out and decide to just go for it. Tell me, how soon do you think Iran could create a nuclear weapon?

GROSSI: Again, let me be objective, you know, some analysts can have the luxury of saying those things. First of all, Iran does not have nuclear

weapons today, as we speak. So, we have to be very objective here. Iran is accumulating a vast amount of highly enriched uranium. And this is

something that, of course, draws our attention because no other country without nuclear weapons is enriching at these high levels.

Another point I would draw attention to is that a nuclear weapon requires more than highly enriched uranium or plutonium to go bang. All right. It is

a complex system that requires other things. Normally, those pursuing nuclear weapons test them, like the North Koreans did.

So, there are a number of things. I say this because alarmism is also a bad idea. It is, of course, concerning. We are in a trajectory that is not

good. We have to persuade Iran to come back to full cooperation with us. But, of course, we are not in a scenario where we have nuclear weapons in

that country.

ISAACSON: I think there are about 413 nuclear power plants operating around the world, 31 countries, 10 percent of the energy of the world, and

maybe a very high percentage of the renewable energy. How important do you think it is that we build more nuclear power plants, and what are you doing

to encourage that?

GROSSI: It's indispensable. It's indispensable. The international consensus, as agreed in the last Climate Change Conference in Dubai, in

November, is that nuclear should be accelerated together with renewables, another fossil fuel-free or CO2-free energies.

So, out of that proportion that you mentioned, we should mention that 25 percent of the clean energy in the world is of nuclear origin right now.

So, this is why we are having a Nuclear Energy Summit in Brussels where leaders from all over the world are coming, because they have come to the

realization that if you want to go to net zero or to a decarbonized energy matrix by 2050 or whatever that may be, without nuclear it would be close

to impossible.


So, the IAEA is the international platform for operation. We are the inspectors that prevent this nuclear material being used for hostile

purposes. We are ensuring that the energy is safe and secure. So, for us, it's a very important moment. There's a 30-point here that we are seeing.

And in this sense, we feel really excited.

ISAACSON: China is expanding its nuclear arsenal at a pace we haven't seen countries do for 30 or 40 years. You recently met with Chinese officials.

What did you say to them and what's your prognosis there?

GROSSI: Well, China is one of the most, I would say, dynamic countries in terms of increasing their nuclear share, nuclear energy share. They have 30

something reactors. And as we speak, they are building more than 20, constructing more than 20 reactors.

That being said, the proportion, the general -- the overall proportion of nuclear energy in the energy mix continues to be quite low. I think it's

very important because, as you know, the Chinese energy mix is highly dependent on coal and other CO2 heavy emitters.

So, the fact that they are increasing the nuclear share is in itself a very important thing. It's like in India, for example, you have the same

situation and I think it's very positive. But we are seeing more nuclear here in Europe, maybe for other reasons, maybe energy security. The war in

Ukraine is bating (ph) countries look at nuclear energy with renewed enthusiasm.

We see it in the United States, where they -- I mean, it's at a time of great difficulty and divide. It enjoys bipartisan support now, nuclear

energy, or in big countries in Europe, in Latin America, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, I mean, Korea, Japan, in spite of the traumatic

experience of Fukushima, the 18 nuclear accidents.

So, I think it is an important moment for nuclear. It is a promising time for nuclear. And we -- as IAEA are present there to make sure that it

happens in the best possible condition.

ISAACSON: But one of the concerns on China is not just their energy program, they're building an arsenal of nuclear weapons at the pace of

which we haven't seen in decades. What can be done to stop that? And Jake Sullivan, our national security adviser, said he wants nuclear arms talks.

Can you all push for that?

GROSSI: Well, I would say that the two things are different, and I would advise to separate them. One thing is that China is in nuclear energy, in

peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and something different is what is happening in terms of nuclear weapons and what they are doing in that


I think the second logic is a logic that has to do more with the geostrategic tensions than anything else. And there, I think, what we said

before about more diplomacy and more dialogue applies.

ISAACSON: You asked recently what keeps you up at night, and your answer surprised me, it wasn't about any of the nuclear plants or the arsenals, it

was that people in Africa can't get radiation therapy. Explain that to me and what are you all doing.

GROSSI: Well, the other side, very important side of nuclear technology, is everything that can be done to improve the lives and livelihoods of

people. And of course, we have all been touched by -- in our families, in our lives, by cancer. And as you know, radiotherapy is an essential part of

any therapy. And in many countries, in any continent, I would say, the availability of radiotherapy is almost non-existent.

So, the IAEA has launched a program called Rays of Hope, where we are trying to do just that, put nuclear medicine, radiotherapy at the disposal

of people who normally do not have it.

ISAACSON: Rafael Grossi, thank you so much for joining us.

GROSSI: It's been a great pleasure. Thank you very much.


GOLODRYGA: Well, next we bring you another inspiring example of hope and strength and grief. Millions of Christians around the world are observing

Good Friday today. It's a time for solemn reflection before the celebration of Easter Sunday, a day of hope.


And there's much space for reflection this year with war raging in both Ukraine and Gaza. But there are bastions of hope, too. Pope Francis has

again appealed for peace. And this week the pontiff met with two men who have felt the pain of war acutely. Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian, and Rami

Elhanan, an Israeli, both lost their daughters to this conflict.

Abir Aramin was killed by an Israeli bullet in 2007, while Smadar Elhanan was killed in a suicide bomb attack in 1997. But instead of turning to

hate, these fathers became friends and have been working for peace ever since. Pope Francis praised them for looking beyond the enmity of war.

And so, we want to return to Christiane's most recent conversation with Bassam and his fellow warrior for peace, Robi Damelin. Rabi's son, David,

was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002. Christiane spoke to Bassam and Robi in November, a month after the October 7th attacks.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Robi and Bassam, welcome. We spoke to you several years ago about the terrible pain of

losing children. You've both lost children, but you were able to somehow shape that into a path towards hope and peace. Robi, after what happened on

October 7th, do you still believe that?


this work. I -- even more so, it is one of the saddest times that I've ever experienced. And I have a very dear friend called Vivian Silver (ph), who's

one of the hostages. But there are points of light here.

Do you know that the Bedouin from an unknown village came to the rescue of those kids at the music concert? There are things that people are not

reporting that are so human. And I know that there are many, many mothers in the south who thought like we did before this happened. And we need to

visit them and give them some solace because only mothers, I think, from my own experience, mothers who had lost children were the only ones that

really understood this feeling.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask Bassam. You're not a mother, you're a father. You lost your daughter to Israeli rubber bullets outside a school. Do you feel

the same way now, seeing not only what happened on October 7th to Israelis, but what is happening in the occupied West Bank where you are, and

especially in Gaza to civilians right now?

BASSAM ARAMIN, SPOKESPERSON, THE PARENTS CIRCLE FAMILIES FORUM: Unfortunately, the conflict didn't start three weeks ago, the 7th of

October, it's decades before. And we always said one day it'll blow up. Let us make peace now, otherwise it will be a disaster. And who paid the price,

always, all the time? It's the civilians. So, it's really a disaster.

But as Robi said, it's our mission. It's the time, even the darkest times to continue raising our voice for peace and reconciliation, to save the

children of Gaza, to save the children of Sderot, the civilians, they are both civilians. They are both have nothing to do with the fighting and they

need to be in a safe place to live together.

AMANPOUR: Your voices are very rare, although I know, Robi, you said there are plenty of people who feel like both you and Bassam, but this moment

feels like one of grief, obviously, shock, anger, revenge. Do you think, Robi, that there is space to try to find the humanity again?

And I'm just going to ask you, because you told "The Times" newspaper in July, I've received death threats, mainly from Israeli settlers, telling me

that I should burn in Auschwitz and that a Palestinian should come and rape me. This is, you know, because of your activities, your cross-community

activities. Obviously, this was before October 7th.

DAMELIN: Well, you know, I just got up because there's a siren and there are rockets outside my house. And this is the way we are living now. And it

is, of course, very frightening. And I think fear, in many ways, is what's creating this hatred. But I don't see a time now to give up.

This is a time where we have to stand up and do whatever we can to make the government have a ceasefire, to bring back all the hostages, to allow the

mothers and children in Gaza. Can you imagine if you grew up in Gaza and every two years there would be a war and there would be bombs and you

wouldn't have freedom of movement or you lived in the West Bank and you also didn't have freedom of movement? But it is very tragic as well.


If you grew up in that environment, and if you grew up in Ashdod or Ashkelon, or one of the kibbutzim, and your life was constantly bombarded

with rockets. So, we can't go on living like this. We have to find another way. And perhaps this terrible, terrible war will end. And people will

realize that unless we talk to each other, unless we find a way to exist side by side, we don't have to fall in love. We don't have to do anything.

We have to also end the occupation that is killing the moral fiber of my country.

I cannot watch the settlers doing -- burning villages like Huwara and there is no accountability. I love this country. It doesn't mean because I am

able to criticize that I don't love Israel. I do. I'm terrified of the antisemitism that is happening all over the world, on American campuses.

AMANPOUR: Bassam, I want to ask you a question, because obviously Islamophobia is also rampant and increasing. You just heard an Israeli Jew

talk about, with deep empathy, your people's crisis, the occupation, and all the things that she outlined. Do you feel that same empathy for Israeli

people who are the civilians who are just living their lives and then got caught up in this slaughter? And I ask you that because you yourself

abandoned the role of so-called freedom fighter. You were a FATA militant freedom fighter, whatever you like to say, and you abandoned that path.

ARAMIN: No, in fact, I didn't abandon. I'm still a fighter but it's fighter for peace. I was in jail for seven years when I was 17 years old.

But what I want to say that is that it's exactly the duty of the Israelis themselves to end this occupation because this is our common enemy. Why we

are fighting? Why we are killing each other? Why we hate each other? We are a normal people because we live in abnormal situation.

Christiane, since three weeks, for example, the last three weeks, Jericho, which is the quieter place on earth under a very heavy siege, the very

brutal behavior, the soldiers around the checkpoints, you cannot move in or out.

The occupation, as Robi said, it's not only killing the moral fiber of Israel, it's killing the Israelis physically, themselves. So, I care about

them, of course. Why I called to end the occupation and not to kill the Israeli people because this is our common enemy. Because I recognize the

humanity of the Israelis there.

You know, your enemy is exactly like you, but without occupation, without oppression. Even Jabotinsky says that oppression creates resistance. We

want to live in a normal place, normal space, Israelis and Palestinians, and stop being victims, both sides, to the policy of the others. Stop the

war. Gaza and -- it's like become as a ghetto. There is nowhere to escape. There is no safer place for those kids.

Israel should be different than Hamas. Israel is a state. You cannot say I'm going to take revenge. You are not a gang leader. At the same time, you

can see the West Bank with those very radical fascist settlers. They cannot see us on the streets. So, this is -- have consequences.

I believe what happened is terrible. And always I said, because I have a master's degree about the Holocaust, so I have the right to talk about

that. This is my hope, my faith, that the Palestinians, they didn't kill 6 million Israelis. And the Israelis didn't kill 6 million Palestinians, yet.

And there is a German ambassador in Tel Aviv, but there is an Israeli ambassador in Berlin. It means we can do it. We just need a brave leader,

or leaders, to take us towards the future --


ARAMIN: -- and release us from the atrocities and the very painful past.

AMANPOUR: Amazing. Thank you both so much and that you both remain friends and allies in this cause is incredibly inspiring to all of us. Bassam,

Robi, thank you very much.


GOLODRYGA: And finally for us, it is a blockbuster Texas hold 'em. Country music gets the Beyonce treatment. And as the megastar releases her new

album, "Cowboy Carter."

Digging into her own Texan roots and using her star power to reclaim the country sound for black artists who have historically been overlooked in

the genre. References are made throughout this troubled history. For instance, she pays tribute to the Chilean Circuit, a series of music venues

that allowed black performers in the Jim Crow South.


While the artist herself says this is not a country album, this is a Beyonce album. We feel like it might be just a little bit of both. Take a

listen to her take on Dolly Parton's iconic "Jolene."


BEYONCE, SINGER: Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene. I'm warning you, don't come for my man. Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene.


GOLODRYGA: If you've been living under a rock, this is all anybody is talking about today, this album. Congratulations, Beyonce. She's killed it


Well, that is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can

always catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media. Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from New York.