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Interview with former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Wesley Clark (Ret.); Interview with Former French Secretary of State for European Affairs and Former French Transport Minister Clement Beaune; Interview with Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Programme Director Sanam Vakil, Interview with "The Work of Art" Author Adam Moss. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 08, 2024 - 13:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

A dark day in Ukraine. Dozens dead and wounded in Putin's missile barrage, even hitting a children's hospital. I'll ask former NATO Supreme Allied

Commander Wesley Clark. What more Kyiv's allies could do then?

Then, in France, the firewall worked, preventing a far-right win. But where does the country go from here? Former Macron cabinet minister Clement

Beaune joins me.

And --


MASOUD PEZESHKIAN, IRANIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): I consider your vote as a heavy responsibility on my shoulder.


AMANPOUR: Another election surprise in Iran, reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian wins amid a low turnout. A disillusioned people have spoken.

Plus --


ADAM MOSS, AUTHOR, "THE WORK OF ART": I felt, I didn't understand how artists think and I felt I could maybe get a hold on that by tracing the

actual work.


AMANPOUR: -- "The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing." Award- winning editor Adam Moss gives us a guided tour inside the artist's mind.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

In this year of elections, at least 70 countries are headed to the polls, the last few days alone voters have delivered some seismic changes and

surprise results. Friday ushered in a new centrist Labour government after 14 years of Tory rule. Saturday was clear that the Islamic regime in Iran

now had a little-known reformist as president. While on Sunday, French voters buck the polls and prove that they are not yet willing to usher in

the far-right. We'll be discussing these trends in our program tonight as all of this, while the U.S. election is upended by questions about whether

Joe Biden remains in the race.

His next major public test will be hosting and holding a press conference at the 17th anniversary -- 75th anniversary of NATO this week in

Washington. And that summit will focus mostly on the still raging Russian war in Ukraine and what would happen to the aid pipeline if Trump were to

win another term.

As if on cue, Russia today launched one of its heaviest missile barrages yet across the Ukraine, killing at least 36 people and wounding more than

100. Even a children's hospital that performs 7,000 surgeries on sick kids every year was hit hard. That's according to local officials.

And I've been speaking to the former Supreme allied commander for Europe, Wesley Clark about what's at stake for Ukraine and for NATO in its face off

with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.


AMANPOUR: General Clark, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, because it really does seem like the Russians are stepping it up on Ukraine. There's been a massive barrage of missiles, a

massive hit on a children's hospital, and dozens dead and wounded. What do you think Putin is thinking now?

CLARK: I think Putin thinks he's going to be able to consolidate the momentum that he has by punishing the Ukrainian people. This is this

horrible Russian attitude that we're going to kill you and murder you until you love us and join us. It's an imperialist attitude going back 100, 200

years, but in this case, it's delivered with modern ordinance in a brutal way. We never thought we'd see something like this in Europe, Christiane,

and yet, here it is, more than two years into the fight. And the west hasn't mustered sufficient strength to drive Putin back.

AMANPOUR: Well, we'll talk about that in a moment and how they should. But first, I want to ask you about the timing. Because the head of Lithuania

has said -- tweeted, Putin sends his greetings to the NATO Summit by bombing a children's hospital in Ukraine, as if any clarification was

needed as to why Ukraine must have all possible support now and real guarantees for security in the future.

So, you know, he's from one of those Baltic states, which, I guess, gets it better than all the countries that are farther away. So, to his question,

what should NATO be doing now?


CLARK: Well, first of all, NATO needs to put a lot more air defense in there. There are many countries in NATO -- and I don't want to have to name

them all, that have Patriot air defense systems that are sitting on them, that are not doing anything for the country.

NATO's line of defense runs through Ukraine. NATO's line of deterrence runs through Ukraine. And so, all the air defense that these countries have that

are not on the front line should be pushed forward to Ukraine. That's the first thing.

Second thing is you have to create ambiguity. You have to -- in you -- in Putin's mind as to what comes next, you can't simply say, here's what we

won't do, we won't do this, we won't do that. You've got to start talking like French President Macron has talked about creating ambiguity. Send

those French aircraft in, put some French troops on the ground in Odessa, put engineers in there to help rebuild the energy infrastructure, get

engaged, show Putin we mean it.

AMANPOUR: And what about future security guarantees? We're talking on the eve of the NATO Summit, 75 years of NATO. What can Ukraine expect? It won't

have a line to joining NATO, but what about security guarantees going forward?

CLARK: Well, I think the pledge for equipment is good, and that's what's going to come out of this, but there's not going to be any security

guarantee, Christiane, unless you're willing to put U.S. and NATO troops into Ukraine. That's the only way a security guarantee would work, and

that, of course, would cross the self-imposed standards that NATO has put up for itself of not wanting to really be engaged.

Want Ukraine to win, don't really want to get engaged and face off with Russia, hope we can discourage Putin indirectly. OK. We've had two and a

half years of that. How well has it worked? Not so well. And you're dealing with a country in Russia that's 24/7 mobilized. It's industrial base. It's

building a group of adversarial nations against the west. It's not good. Time is working on -- for Russia right now rather than for the west.

And from the beginning of this, we've misunderstood the Russian strategy and the Russian ability to endure the sanctions and the pinpricks of

weapons that come in. We've always been too late, too little with what we've provided. And in this conflict, the F-16s have already been

discounted by the Russians. They figured out what to do to work against them, or at least they think they have, just like they did with HIMARS, and

they'll figure out the ATACMS very quickly also.

So, in war, you have to get the initiative, you have to build your momentum, and you have to sustain it. In this case, we're not fighting this

as war, we're fighting this as a diplomatic holding action, hoping that somehow Mr. Putin will say after a couple of years, yes, I've made a

mistake. I really want out of this. And there's no indication that that's going to happen.

AMANPOUR: General Clark. Thank you very much for being with us.

CLARK: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And the pain of Ukrainians is felt all over the world, here in London at the Wimbledon Championships, the Ukrainian tennis star Elina

Svitolina wore a black ribbon as she won her fourth-round match today to advance to the quarterfinals. Svitolina has continuously used her platform

to highlight the plight of her fellow Ukrainians on the world stage. Through tears at the end she said, it's a very difficult day for Ukrainian

people. Playing not just for herself, but of course her whole country.

So, how will a potentially hung parliament in France affect that country's aid to Ukraine? These were the scenes of jubilation in Paris after the

left-wing alliance stopped the far-right from taking power in a stunning turnaround. Most pollsters had expected Marine Le Pen's National Rally to

win. But in the highest voting turnout in 27 years, the left-wing New Popular Front came first. President Macron's centrist party came second,

doing better than anyone had predicted. And the party of Marine Le Pen and her young prodigy Jordan Bardella came third.

So, did Macron's election gamble pay off? While the far-right has been kept at bay for now, the results show a more -- show a move to the extremes,

both to the left and to the right, with the center losing more than a hundred seats.

Clement Beaune is a former cabinet minister and member of Macron's party, and he's joining me now from Paris. Welcome to the program. And I just

wanted to get into the --


AMANPOUR: -- French politics in a moment, but your reaction to what's happened in Ukraine, what General Wesley Clark said, and given these

elections, will France continue to be able to be a strong supporter of military aid to Ukraine?


BEAUNE: Thank you. Yes, I think we should be very clear about that. The good news about yesterday's elections is that, of course, we will need time

to form a government and a new parliamentary majority. But the main interests and the main values of France, including at the European level,

at the global level, remain stable and the same.

So, support Ukraine will go on, for sure. So, building of the European project with France being at the forefront will remain a key element of our

foreign policy. These central values, these central principles will remain key principles of the French diplomacy for sure.

AMANPOUR: Now, Clement Beaune, is that because the president makes those decisions, or do you think both the far-right and the left coalition will

agree to that?

BEAUNE: It's both, for sure. The French president is, by constitution, in our system, the leader of the armies, the commander-in-chief and also, the

head of the diplomacy. That will remain in any case. But what we saw as election results yesterday is that the clear majority of French people,

even though they decided on different parties and elected different parties, wants to remain pro-European, want to remain pro-Ukraine, want to

remain strong allies of The U.K., of the U.S., of our European partners, members of NATO.

If you look at the parties which have a majority in numbers and majority of seats in parliament altogether, this orientation in favor of Europe, in

favor of a support to Ukraine is very clear. So, there's no doubt about that. Now, what we have to build is a stable government reflecting these

values, but also acting on domestic issues.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, that is the obvious big question, because what would you call this, a hung parliament? I mean, how does it work? As you said, the

majority, if you add the Macronese and the far-left, have, you know, voted against the far-right, but how does it work? Because, you know, all of them

have got a large number of seats. How do you see the coalitions being built?

BEAUNE: Well, the first news, and maybe a surprise to a lot of people, is that the far-right party, the National Rally of Marine Le Pen and Jordan

Bardella, has not come first, has nothing like a majority, even a relative majority in parliament. This is very good news, because it was not

guaranteed before the vote on Sunday. So, this is the first information, I would say.

Second is that we have, indeed, a parliament, which was more fragmented than ever before. If we were another E.U. country, it would be quite

normal, but for the French Parliament and for French politics, it's new and we have to deal with that. It will probably ask us a few days, maybe weeks

to deal with this and to find a stable government, maybe a coalition.

At this very moment I cannot say exactly what will come out. We know that the alliance off left-wing parties has come first, but the centrist bloc of

Mr. Macron, my own political family, has come second and very close, and there's no majority without cooperation between these blocs. So, this is

what we have to do.

But the core principles, as I said, relating to Ukraine, to E.U., for instance, remain. Now, we have to find out, as Germany would do, as Spain

would do, as Italy would do, as a normal parliamentary democracy, if I can say, we have to find a way out of this apparent deadlock. But I'm confident

we will find out by probably the end of July.

AMANPOUR: End of July, well that's more optimistic than some have given. So, you are a member of Macron's party, you did lose your seat in the first

round, and then there was this, you know, strategic voting that was enabled, like a firewall. But I guess I want to ask you, so do you believe

Macron's gamble paid off?

BEAUNE: Well, if the idea was to show and to demonstrate publicly and also to French voters the weaknesses of the National Rally, of the far-right. We

saw during the campaign that they were unable to defend the platform, that a lot of the candidates refused to debate on TV, to debate publicly, to

present their platform, that a lot of them were antisemitic, were homophobic, were racists, obviously.

This is a demonstration, which I think was useful. I have to say also, because we should not forget, that this party, the National Rally, the far-

right party, has gained a lot of seats, still. It's not a majority, it's not close to majority, but they have gained seats and it says something

also about the anger of the French people, about maybe public services, about some piece -- some things which didn't work in the last years in our

system, request for more security.

So, we have to listen to that, too, because it's true that the National Rally remains -- is now the first party in parliament, the biggest group in

parliament. No majority, but this signal, this kind of wakeup call that we should adhere to.


Now, the other parties, which is very unusual in our system, but we have to find the way out of this, have to cooperate. It's a bit silly to say that

everyone has one. I heard the left-wing parties saying, we need to govern because we have one. They have nothing close to a majority themselves. And

our centrist bloc has none either. So, we have to cooperate and to take a few days and weeks, I don't know exactly how long, to set up a kind of

coalition deal.

AMANPOUR: Marine Le Pen, as you're correct, not only does her party have a massive number of seats that she never had before, but they also got the

highest popular vote, even though the lowest, relatively, of the seats in parliament. And you know, she has said, listen, I've been at this game long

enough. It's -- our victory is just being delayed. We have not been defeated. So, she is still believing that it's possible to win. And

obviously, she's got her eye on 2027 and the presidential.

But I want to ask you because there are equally number of people who are very concerned about the far-left. So, what happens now, because the

furthest left whose head is, you know, Melenchon. You know, people have -- are not as -- not that happy with him as well. And he's just come out with

a -- you know, a program where he says that they're going to redo, you know, some of Macron's economic policies like, you know, change again the

retirement age, have a wealth tax, you know, potentially balloon the debt. What do you think is going to happen to the French economy?

BEAUNE: Well, I want to be a reassuring. You're right. Ss a threat of the far-right in the months or years to come, in the next elections,

presidential election will be in 2027, has not disappeared. So, we should be very aware of this. They have a big group in parliament, bigger group

than before. And this is a lesson. We have to find responses on the social issues and purchasing power and the way we do the green transition to

people who are in France and in many western countries worried about these transitions and these transformations of our model. That's for sure.

On the far-left, on the left alliance, I want to be clear, there's no way, if you look at the numbers that Melenchon could be the leader of the

government or the next prime minister. This cannot happen because this is not the message or the results of the election yesterday. The program, the

platform of this New Front Populaire, as it is called, this left-wing or far-left alliance has to be dealt with, or discussed, if I may say, with

all the parties.

As I said, they have no majority and they are not close to majority. So, they can repeat today that they will deliver the whole program or

manifesto, it will not be the case. It cannot be the case in parliament because there's no majority for that. So, I want to be clear on that,

especially on the most frightening elements of this manifesto. It will not happen.

Yet, they have the biggest numbers in parliament, if -- even if it's not a majority. So, the discussion has to start. Some elements of this program

may well appear in the government of France in the next weeks, but not the most divisive elements, that's for sure.

AMANPOUR: And, Clement Beaune, you know, you were just talking about antisemitism in the national rally, and I did actually ask Marine Le Pen

about it and she insisted that, oh, we were overwhelmed and we had to choose a thousand people and we will, you know, put people through a

process and take action if necessary.

But also, on the very far-right, in the Melenchon party, there has been, you know, accusations of anti -- in the far-left accusations of

antisemitism to the point that, you know, some, you know, French Jews said, oh, my goodness, we're faced with having to choose between a far-left and a

far-right, and we are, you know, in a terrible position.

First on the antisemitism issue, France has the biggest Jewish and the biggest Muslim populations in Europe. And obviously, a lot of the Muslim

population are very concerned about the far-right as well. How is that going to be addressed?

BEAUNE: Let's be clear, both in France, the far-right and far-left parties are dangerous because they have this ambiguity, if not more, with

antisemitism, which is absolutely not acceptable. I come from the center left, and the reason why I fought very hard this New Front Populaire is

because part of this Front Populaire is Melenchon's party, which is very, very dangerous with this antisemitism. They play with that, if I may say,

and this is totally unacceptable in our republic, in our system. So, I was very clear, and the government was very clear on that.


Now, the danger, the threat is still here, both from the far-left and the far-right. And as you know, antisemitism, antisemitic acts and insults, or

words have surged since October 7th, unfortunately. We have to be very tough on this. And this will be part also of the roadmap of the new

government. President Macron will be very clear on that. And we will never, never stop the fight against antisemitism. But this is a threat that has to

be taken seriously.

Mr. Melenchon, a couple of weeks ago, says it was just a few problems or a few issues in French society. It is not. And I know the Jewish community

very well. It's a big part of my constituency. And I know that they are afraid of Melenchon, rightly so. So, that's why also the centrist bloc, the

centrist people, the moderate people have to fight both extremes in the months to come, still after these elections.

AMANPOUR: And equally, Muslims and I guess some Jews still are afraid of the far-right because of its history. And when I talked to Marine Le Pen

just before, you know, I interviewed her in Paris on Thursday, you know, when I said far-right she got very angry. Listen to what she said to me.


MARINE LE PEN, LEADER, NATIONAL REALLY PARTY (through translator): I strongly dispute the term far-right, which in your country refers to small

groups that are extremely radical and violent. If you like, the equivalent --

AMANPOUR: You don't think you're far-right?

LE PEN (through translator): The equivalent of what we are in the United States is between the center right and the center left with regards to

ideas. So, I think this --

AMANPOUR: You're kidding me, right?

LE PEN (through translator): Yes, yes. I'm telling you very honestly, I think this use of the term far-right carries a stigma and is very

pejorative. It does not correspond to what we are, and not at all to what the far-right is in the United States.


AMANPOUR: So, Clement Beaune, I wonder what you make of her analysis about what she thinks she is. And of course, according to Politico her party in

the European elections is about to join, apparently the Hungarian prime minister, Orban's far-right group in parliament.

Do you buy that, that they're somehow between center left and center right, the new version of what used to be the National Front?

BEAUNE: No. And if there was this kind of firewall against this far-right party, this National Rally, that's because the French people were aware

that they are a threat and that they remain a far-right party with all the history we know about racism, antisemitism.

We saw during this campaign in France that nearly a third of the candidates coming from National Rally were publicly seen as having words which were

antisemitic, racist, or homophobic. This is the truth. So, they can say whatever they think, whatever they want, the truth is there and it was

shown directly during the campaign.

As for the E.U. level, I think it's very interesting because during the European election campaign, Mr. Bardella, the leader of this party, said he

has nothing to do with these far-right people in Europe that comments about abortion, about homophobia and so on. And now, to join with Mr. Orban from

Hungary, this new group at the European Parliament level, which is clearly an alliance between people from the far-right.

Mr. Orban, prime minister of Hungary, has fought very strongly the LGBT community, has been very tough on justice, independence of the press and so

on. So, this is clearly a far-right and dangerous agenda that Mr. Bardella and Ms. Le Pen are joining at the E.U. level. We needed a demonstration. It

is one more demonstration that they remain in this history of the European and French far-right.

AMANPOUR: And finally, on President Macron, many economists, you know, neutral economists say that he's actually run a fairly good economy that,

you know, inflation is falling, employment is up. He's attracted a lot of international investment, but there is a ballooning debt. Is he going to be

a lame duck? And why is he so loathed?

BEAUNE: Well, you know, in France it's maybe not like in the U.S., for instance, or in other democracies, western democracies. It's not always the

economy is stupid, as we say. The economic achievements are very impressive. We should be proud about that. We have decreased strongly the

level of unemployment. We have increased the level of employment. We have created 2 million jobs. So, this is a very strong achievement.

But some people feel that the public services should work better. That's our education system needs more investment, our health system the same. So,

this is a response that we shall also bring with the new parliament and new government for sure. But we should not change and we will not change

entirely, 100 percent, no U-turn in our economic policy because it has proven effective. It has created jobs for millions of people. We should not

lose that. We should not -- our attractiveness policy for foreign investment, for instance. So, I will fight as a politician now to keep

these key elements together in the years to come. We need that.


AMANPOUR: All right. Clement Beaune, thank you so much indeed --

BEAUNE: And I know the president will be very tough on that too.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much.

BEAUNE: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And we turn now to Iran, where over the weekend, a reformist candidate beat his hardline conservative rival to win the presidency.

Masoud Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old cardiac surgeon, has been an outspoken critic of the so-called Morality Police and vowed that he would end Iran's

international isolation. Here he is speaking for the first time publicly following his victory.


MASOUD PEZESHKIAN, IRANIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): I consider your vote as a heavy responsibility on my shoulder, and I pledge

to continue to be a listening ear for your words, and a voice for the voiceless and rejected.


AMANPOUR: The turnout was fairly low, reflecting a rejection by many young people of the entire system. Where the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah

Khamenei is the ultimate source of power. Sanam Vakil is director of Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Programme, and she's joining me

here in the studio. Welcome back to the studio.


AMANPOUR: Were you surprised or not? And is this more of the same, or is it just, you know, the pendulum has swung over the last 25 years between

reformists and hardliners?

VAKIL: I was very surprised. I think most people were surprised. Over six weeks ago, when Ebrahim Raisi died in that helicopter crash, I don't think

that people really anticipated that a reformist would make a comeback. Reformists were very much marginalized after President Rouhani left office.

And we really saw a conservative consolidation of power across Iran's elected institutions and unelected institutions.

So, this was really a unique moment for reformists to try to make a comeback. And Pezeshkian, I think, was a real -- sort of someone emerging

from the ashes in this moment, and they worked very hard to build a campaign around him.

AMANPOUR: So, why was he allowed to run? I mean, the last time Raisi ran, he had basically been given carte blanche, right? I mean, they banned all

reformist candidates from being able to channel. Why was he allowed to run this time? Did they just think, well, we'll throw a bit of, whatever,

something to the people and they'll never win?

VAKIL: Well, I think we have to consider what Iran has been through over the past few years. In 2022, '23, we saw the very dramatic and powerful

women life protests that were brutally repressed, but it became very clear that Iran's leadership had a broken, damaged relationship with people

across the country, not just people in Tehran, but really writ large ethnic groups, women, young people also in villages and towns. And this might've

been an olive branch of an effort by parts of the state to draw in people and showcase some engagement with the process, even if it's not fully free

and fair, even if it's not really meaningful or will transform the Islamic Republic, it could build back some legitimacy.

AMANPOUR: And there was a very low turnout. Very low. I mean, it's been just getting lower and lower and lower historically, and that's a threat to

the regime. I mean, they kept leaving the polls open longer and longer, and there was a massive, you know, shout by the supreme leader to get people

out to the polls. How threatening is that to the regime?

VAKIL: Well, I think on the one hand, it shows us that Iran is now a status quo power. The Islamic Republic has been around for long enough that

its voting turnout is the same as many in democracies. And so, you know, what does that tell us about the Islamic Republic? It's not as

transformational, it's sort of stubborn and resistant to change.

On the other hand, though, there is a huge gap between state and society. And in the first round of the vote, 60 percent of the electorate chose not

to vote, boycott or just abdication and choosing to not engage, I think, is really interesting. And it speaks to a broader and deeper dynamic that

Masoud Pezeshkian is going to try and address, I imagine.

AMANPOUR: So, the deeper dynamic in general for people is the total collapse of the economy for them, the hardship that they live in, plus the

total isolation that Iran is under. They can't travel. They're not welcome elsewhere. They feel that they have no future in this Iran.

People -- reformists feel that if we could get the sanctions lifted, that is one way to address this. Is that going to be his main target?


VAKIL: I think he has a few policies that he wants to take forward. Internally, I think the social dynamics are important to try and address.

He's -- he didn't commit to be able -- to being able to reverse the hijab laws per se, but perhaps to roll back the oppression --the presence of the

morality police. He spoke about internet censorship as important and I think he faces --

AMANPOUR: As important to combat?

VAKIL: Yes, to combat, not that he doesn't support it, to be clear. But he faces a bit of an uphill battle because the constitution -- the

institutions are dominated by conservatives. So, he has to build consensus across the system that will allow him to open up and lightly liberalize the

social environment.

And then, to your question on the economy, that is the key issue. But the economy is deeply tied to foreign policy and foreign dynamics.

AMANPOUR: Right. So, how should foreign leaders, the United States and others, be looking at another reformist? They feel that they had a better

time of it with Khatami, better time of it with Rouhani with the JCPOA, and now, there's another one. And around him are people who are very, very

intimately, you know, sort of -- well, I mean, they were the negotiators for the JCPOA. How should the United States, Western Europe, look at this

man, Pezeshkian?

VAKIL: It's quite interesting, because as you've laid out, clearly, the west has been burned in investing in Iranian reformers and reformists. They

haven't seen the transformation. They haven't watched Iranian politicians being able to deliver change. But on the other hand, this is an opening

inside Iran that the west or the U.S., President Biden and his team, but also European leaders could try and build on.

This -- the sort of storm clouds around Iran are growing. We might not feel them and see them right now, but there are a lot of interconnected issues

that are very frustrating. There's the nuclear program that is accelerating at a dramatic level. There are tensions that have been building up with

France, Germany. And the U.K., they've issued a resolution against Iran. So, there are tensions --

AMANPOUR: On the nuclear issue?

VAKIL: On the nuclear issue.


VAKIL: Secondly, of course, Europe is deeply concerned about Iran's support for Russia. So, that emerges. And --

AMANPOUR: And Putin and Pezeshkian had a call today.

VAKIL: Exactly, exactly. And the Europeans have made it clear that Iranian transfer of missiles to Russia is a red line. Second -- thirdly, of course,

Iran's support for the Axis of Resistance.

AMANPOUR: And Pezeshkian put out a statement to say that -- it was no change. I mean, it was boilerplate, but using that word resistance, we will

continue to support them.

VAKIL: Exactly. So, those three dynamics are there. And then, you add to that the human rights in Iran, you have the persistent detention of dual

nationals and foreign nationals by the Islamic Republic and Iran's campaign against activists, journalists, Iranian citizens abroad. So, you mix that

all together and you can sort of imagine European politicians feeling very frustrated.

They know Pezeshkian, on his own, isn't going to be transformational, but they could try to incrementally address some of these files --

AMANPOUR: Like they did with Rouhani?

VAKIL: Potentially.

AMANPOUR: Essentially. I mean, they got a nuclear deal, which then the United States pulled out of, let's not forget. But first, before I ask you

about that, who is he? I mean, did he just come from nowhere? I called him a 69-year-old cardiac surgeon.

VAKIL: I think he has an interesting background. I mean, he is a, you know, doctor by profession. He served during the Iran-Iraq war. You know,

what's interesting to me in his biography is that like President Biden, he lost his wife and his child and, you know, tragic car accident, he chose to

never remarry. And he's sort of raised his children by himself. He has Azeri roots as well as Kurdish roots.

AMANPOUR: That's interesting.

VAKIL: Yes. So, you know, there's a bit of dynamism in there.

AMANPOUR: And he was a minister, right?

VAKIL: Minister of health under Khatami, and he served in parliament. And it's important to note that in the previous parliamentary elections, first

he was not permitted to run by the Guardian Council. There was then an appeal, and then he got in. And then he, of course, was elected to


So, he's an insider, to a certain degree. He understands the system. I think he knows how to play the system. He has remained steadfast and very

overt in being loyal to Khamenei. And I think that is perhaps an astute strategy to push through some of these difficult issues if he can.

AMANPOUR: And, I mean, you know, they know which side their bread is buttered in that regard. But what do you think a Trump or a Biden or

whoever wins the next presidential election, they also have, you know, responsibility for the dynamic of this relationship, how do you think the

U.S. wants to get back to some kind of more solid status, especially around the nuclear issue?


VAKIL: I'll be honest, Christiane, I don't think that there is deep thinking about getting back to solid ground. Iran is a toxic asset, has

been for decades for the U.S. and for U.S. policymakers. Iran is about being managed and contained. And the Biden administration has tried these

mini deals to contain the Iranian crisis. And should Biden win, and let's see what's going to happen there, I expect much of that to continue.

I don't think they're going to be big breakthroughs. It's hard to sell Iran to the American electorate. But Trump has very clearly indicated that, you

know, max pressure, sanctions oversight, and even maximum support for the Iranian people could come back. And that could be a game changer, put a lot

of pressure on the Islamic Republic.

AMANPOUR: You know, you talked hijab law, which, you know, is the leitmotif of what happened to Mahsa Amini over the last two years. Do you

think that there --you know, women might get more rights under him?

VAKIL: I'm not particularly optimistic, I'll be honest. Women in Iran have been agitating for rights for 45 years and it's been very hard for them to

get them on paper. What Iranian women have been successful at doing is circumventing and finding workarounds and at some point, incremental gains.

And that's, I think, what is only on offer right now.

AMANPOUR: And very lastly, briefly, 30 seconds, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. Are they the real powers? And how does this affect them?

VAKIL: I think they're part of the system. They're part of the deep state as I see them. And they are vested -- they're -- they have staying power.

And Pezeshkian, like all leaders across the system, have to work with them, find entry points, and I think the guards, at some point, can be pragmatic

on certain issues, perhaps, they're thinking also about their future post Khamenei, but they're very invested in protecting the system, the --

invested in the Axis of Resistance. So, those policies and those relationships are not really going to change in a meaningful way.

AMANPOUR: Sanam Vakil of Chatham House, thank you so much indeed.

Next to creating art. Ever wondered how artists make great pieces? Is it talent, discipline, ruthless self-editing, promotion, or something more

personal? Adam Moss, the former award-winning New York magazine editor, became fascinated with this question when he made the switch to painting.

In his new book, "The Work of Art," Moss delves into the minds of creatives and their artistic processes, and he tells Walter Isaacson what he's



WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Thank you, Christiane. And, Adam Moss, welcome to the show.

ADAM MOSS, AUTHOR, "THE WORK OF ART": Thank you, Walter. Really great to be here.

ISAACSON: Your book begins with the squiggly drawing that Frank Gehry does as a thought of what the Guggenheim and Bill Boer will be. Then you go to

the Guggenheim, and I think I also remember you did a story on the Guggenheim when you were at New York Magazine comparing it to Marilyn


MOSS: Right.

ISAACSON: Tell me how that squiggly becomes that building and what you learned from Frank Gehry.

MOSS: Well, I was just riveted by this. I was actually in the gift shop of the museum. And the building itself is just this weird, crazy building,

which, yes, that Herbert Muschamp, the old architecture critic of "The New York Times," this is when I was the editor of "The New York Times"

magazine. And he had written this tribute to this building, which was -- I mean, now we're used-- kind of used to what Frank Gehry does. But at that

time, this was kind of the first of them and it was like, whoa, what is he doing here?

And to be in the building, opening this book called "Gehry Draws," and to see this first or early thought manifested is just a fabulously crazy

doodle was to see that initial thought in action. And then -- you know, then comes a lot of struggle and a lot of engineering problems, et cetera,

but that first impulse was caught in this drawing, which so moved me. And that's why I started the book with it, because it was so beautiful to me.

ISAACSON: You know, I was like halfway through the book, I'm a bit slow, when I realized the double meanings that hit me of the title, "The Work of

Art," and that is -- it's not just about the artwork, it's about all the work that goes into it. Tell me about how you decided to pick that title

and make that the theme of the book.

MOSS: Well, the first title of the book was "Editing." Something you would recognize.

ISAACSON: Well, you too. You were the great editor back then in our day.


MOSS: Trying to -- thank you. Trying to claim editing in a broader way than we basically understand it in terms of moving words around and that

sort of thing, or even images in a film context, but then that just seemed too limited. And what I was really after was something more mundane, which

is the labor and what constitutes the labor of the making of art, something I was deeply curious about and actually had a kind of psychological need to


As I was trying to do my own art, I -- when I left magazines, I tried to be a painter, still trying to be a painter. And I kind of didn't understand

how artists think, or I felt I didn't understand how artists think. And I felt I could do maybe get a hold on that by tracing the actual work, both

the steps and also, more particularly, the sort of psychological state of an artist as they work through something.

So, eventually, the pun of "The Work of Art" just occurred to me, and it was just exactly what I was after. The subtitle of the book is "How

Something Came from Nothing," and I was trying to understand that narrative.

ISAACSON: You talk, though, about your own disposition, you call it, to be collaborative, which made it a little bit harder for you to be a painter, I


MOSS: Oh, definitely, yes.

ISAACSON: Yes. What is it? Is it disposition that makes an artist?

MOSS: I think it's a lot of qualities. I think there's a discipline -- I think, first of all, they have to have access to their imagination. I

should start right there. They have to be able -- I mean, a lot of the books talk -- a lot of the subjects in the books talked about having ADHD,

which I don't know whether that's true in a clinical sense. But the basic movement of what ADHD suggests to people, which is the distract ability and

then the hyper focus on one thing pretty much defined, in a lot of ways, what -- how an artist works, they wander and then they bear down.

And the ability to do that, to be able to sort of traverse the imagination and then the hardcore discipline, the work of shaping the thing was kind of

the key to all of it. And they had just to get back to editing. They had a terrific ability to edit themselves, to actually see what their imagination

had kind of spewed out and then to make various strategic decisions based on their own reaction to it. They're highly --

ISAACSON: Well, give me some examples of that, because there's wonderful things in the book with a mini drafts, whether it's a work of art or a gate

to Lee's story on Frank Sinatra, in which you see the editing process.

MOSS: Yes. So, for example, George Saunders, he wrote all these notes to himself in which he was kind of evaluating what it was that he'd thrown on

the page and somewhat ruthlessly creating a map toward moving from draft to draft. Amy Sillman, she made like a hundred versions of a painting that we

talk about called "Miss Gleeson," where she just painted over and over and over really beautiful paintings on the way to this fantastic painting she

ended up with.

But to see all of the steps, to see all the examples, to see all the things that she destroyed on the way to creating was actually almost to see an

artist in action. It was almost as if I was making a picture documentary and you could see the movement, the moments. And I tried to recreate that

in the book. I tried to somehow make that narrative come alive.

ISAACSON: You know, you set up a tension at the beginning of the book between sort of Arden who says, hey, it's a talent you're born with. And

then, I think it's Baldwin, right? Who says --

MOSS: Yes.

ISAACSON: -- no, no, it's discipline and the rigor. And at the end of the book, you say -- you haven't really decided which, but as I go through the

book, I think I'm on Baldwin's side, it's all about the discipline and the rigor.

MOSS: Well, I think you need both, is the thing. I think it's helpful. It's at least helpful to be talented. One should dismiss that fact, is that

there are some people who have an easier time at this than others, and some people who have a kind of personality that allows them to access the it, if

you will.

And -- but then, yes, it's like it's the ability to endure failure. This book is littered with failure. It's almost like a Roadrunner cartoon. Is

that people just keep falling off the cliff. And their capacity to pick themselves up, to sort of hack through the wreckage and to keep going, is

deeply impressive to me. And I think the mark of someone who really succeeds as an artist.


ISAACSON: Throughout the book, the idea of spirituality and faith pops up every now and then. And you asked all the artists you spoke with, what is

the source of their inspiration? And it was a musician, Moses Sumney, who gives you an answer, it comes from God, absolutely.

You admit that you had trouble appreciating the importance of faith. Have your feelings evolved on that when so many people talking about the

spirituality that's involved in art?

MOSS: Well, I mean, I just have become -- I'm just a deeply secular person. And so, I -- my own understanding of where these things come from

has more to do with the subconscious than it does to do with God or some other otherworldly inspiration.

But I think, basically, we're just talking about the same thing. It's the thing you don't understand. And there's a certain acceptance of the thing

that you don't understand that you have to come to as an artist. And I had to come to as a writer about artists.

But faith, the interesting thing about faith is that it has several different meanings. Again, it's -- and one of those meanings is faith in

yourself. And there's a great quote by Walker Evans, the photographer Walker Evans, where he talks about having learned faith and he recognized

that faith might be read by other people as a kind of egotism, but you can't make anything without a certain kind of faith in yourself, a kind of

inner ability that you can make this thing that you're trying to make, which I actually personally as a painter, lack completely. I have no faith

whatsoever. I'm trying to get some. And faith does come from experience, but it also comes from character.

ISAACSON: You also talk about self-sabotage. I think you've talked to Amy Sillman about it and others. Explain what that is and why that's important.

MOSS: Well, I don't know why it's important, but it's a fact that I encountered over and over again, that something in the mind is trying to

prevent the artist from making the thing. The mind is trying to protect the artist in some ways. We -- you know, we're all very good at protecting

ourselves from a certain kind of pain. And artists do that too.

And -- but a certain kind of pain is clearly necessary to the making of the thing, or at least getting in touch with something raw and maybe difficult.

And so, they -- so their mind takes over and tries to -- you know, tries to disturb the thing. And that -- that's one of the many, many things that

they have to fight their way through on the way to the finished work.

ISAACSON: You talk about the virtues you need, but you also say there's a combination of virtues and flaws together. I think a couple of people in

the book explore that. Tell me about who talked to you about that.

MOSS: Well, I have a conversation with Sheila Heti, the novelist, Sheila Heti, which I put in the end of the book, because I thought it said it

pretty well. And she was saying, well -- where I was talking about this thing that I couldn't let go of, which is, is how is it that some people

can make art and not others or others have more trouble with it? And she said, well -- she said, it's -- you know, for me, it's just that I can

endure tedium. I like sitting around. I like the boredom.

And there is a lot of tedious work that goes into making kind of almost anything. And they can just endure it because they're kind of built that

way. And they don't have other -- you know, they don't -- they may not have other virtues. They may not -- I mean, I don't know. You know, they may

not, ultimately be kind. Kindness isn't necessarily related to the making of art, though empathy certainly is.

But they have a kind of list of characteristics, whether they be virtues or flaws, in our observation of it, that add up to the characteristics that

make being artists being an artist possible.

ISAACSON: One other unusual piece of art in the book is Dean Baquet, the editor of "The New York Times," former editor, doing a front page of "The

New York Times." You actually have a few front pages, but especially the ones of what we lost in COVID, and it also harkened back to your "New York"

magazine days where graphic design and the visual display of information becomes a piece of art. Tell me what you learned from that one.


MOSS: Well, OK. so in that case, the work itself that we discussed was a front page, "The COVID Lost," which if anyone remembers that front page and

kind of pays attention to how "The New York Times" talks, they would have been shocked by it. It was almost like a Maya Lin Vietnam Memorial that

simply listed in tiny, tiny type, the COVID dead. This was at the moment of the 100,000th COVID dead in 2020.

And that just seemed as someone who had worked at "The New York Times" for a lot of years, extraordinary. Like how does an institution, especially as

traditionally hidebound institution as "The New York Times" create this within its own context, radical work that was, to me, categorically, not a

piece of information in the way that "The New York Times" front page is, information, hierarchy, judgment, all that kind of thing. But it was like

the Vietnam Memorial a kind of tribute that was an artistic work.

So, how did that happen? And I talked to Dean Baquet, who's the editor at the time and to Tom Bodkin, who was the chief designer, about the steps,

which were -- really, originally, they had made all these baby steps. You know, we talked about some of these other front pages at the beginning.

COVID was so huge a story and so important to impress upon the readers. It's extraordinary historical meaning that they tried all these baby steps.

They like -- which would not -- they're too complicated to explain here. But they were all ways to disturb or disrupt the way the New York -- the

front page usually worked.

And then, that emboldened them to try something incredibly radical, which was to devote the entire page to this in a way that would have visual

impact and not verbal or an impact through text. And even though this was text, it was functioning. You couldn't really read the names. It was

functioning as a piece of visual information or visual storytelling.

I mean, the book doesn't deal very much with the way the creativity works in institutions, but this was one example I thought was pretty striking and

I wanted to include it in, in some ways, as a compliment to the traditional ways that people make art.

ISAACSON: Did you get, by the end of the book, the answer you were trying to find out when you began the book?

MOSS: I did actually have a breakthrough. Because over and over and over again, I would try to get the artist, this is just part of my journalist

training. You'll recognize this as a -- you know, from your own journalist work, you kind of want a catharsis. You want something to work with. You

want the, like, exaltation, oh, my god, I've made this thing.

I'd like -- you know, I'd hope that the book would be just one huge aha, aha, aha, after another. And they would have that, you know, feeling of

like almost like a rom-com montage where they're finally fall in love at the end. And I wouldn't get it. No one would -- no one had that kind of

exultation when they reached the end of their work. They would feel relieved. You know, they would feel like, OK, I got somewhere, OK, it's

finished, OK, I'm exhausted. I'm ready to do something else, but they would never have the, oh, my God, I made this thing that we all recognize as

these classics, these beautiful masterpieces.

And what they would tell me over and over again is that they would say, you know, it -- it's not about the thing that I'm making, it's about the work

itself. It is about the struggle to make the thing. That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what I go. That's what gives me my sense of joy. And

it also just defines me as an individual.

And there was somewhere around the third year of writing this book, I finally like took it to heart and I said, yes, it's about the work. And I

brought that back to my own painting. And now, that's how I paint. I -- you know, and as a result, I'm actually painting better things, but that's not

even the point. The point is to relish the making of the thing itself. And I love that.

ISAACSON: Adam Moss, thank you for joining us.

MOSS: Thank you very, very much.


AMANPOUR: And finally, I'm not sure whether this is art, but nothing gets the heart racing like charging bulls. As part of Spain's annual nine-day

festival, these 600-kilo horned heavyweights are let lose into the narrow streets of Pamplona.


And unbelievably, thousands of thrill-seeking people, revelers join in. According to local media, at least six have been injured though over the

last two days. The bull run takes place every morning for the next week. Despite the danger, some participants take part in this tradition every

year, calling these festivities the best party in Spain.

That's 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 for watching, and goodbye from London.