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Interview with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock; Interview with Hezbollah Lawmaker Ibrahim Moussawi; Interview with The Economist Social Affairs Editor Sacha Nauta. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 10, 2024 - 13:00   ET



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


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, NATO is stronger than it's ever been in its history.


AMANPOUR: President Joe Biden vows to stop Putin as world leaders converge on Washington to celebrate 75 years of NATO. But could extreme forces in

Europe and America threaten the alliance? I ask German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

And --


IBRAHIM MOUSSAWI, HEZBOLLAH LAWMAKER: Every time the Israeli enemy escalates the situation, we would escalate equally and above.


AMANPOUR: -- as strikes and counter strikes rage across the Israel-Lebanon border, I speak with Hezbollah's Ibrahim Moussawi, a member of Lebanon's


Then --


SACHA NAUTA, SOCIAL AFFAIRS EDITOR, THE ECONOMIST: Being uncomfortable with IVF is a logical extension from being uncomfortable with abortion.


AMANPOUR: -- Hari Sreenivasan talks to Economist editor Sasha Nauta about complex moral and political questions around IVF.

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

As world leaders gather in Washington to mark NATO's 75th anniversary, unprecedented challenges face the alliance. First and foremost, a raging

war in Europe, now into its third year. NATO is stepping up with more critical air defenses for Ukraine after Russia's deadly strike on

infrastructure, including a children's hospital in Kyiv.

Already more Patriot missile systems are headed there, and the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has announced that F-16 jets will

finally be flying over the skies in Ukraine this summer. Speaking as the summit started last night, President Joe Biden gave a full-throated



JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: In Europe, Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine continues, and Putin wants nothing less, nothing less than

Ukraine's total subjugation.

Before this war, Putin thought NATO would break. Today, NATO is stronger than it's ever been in its history. When this senseless war began, Ukraine

was a free country. Today, it is still a free country, and the war will end with Ukraine remaining a free and independent country.


AMANPOUR: Indeed, also in Washington, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, thanked NATO allies for the much-awaited F-16s. And he

challenged the Biden administration not to "shy away" from its strength, urging it to remove restrictions against using those U.S. weapons on

targets inside Russia. Zelenskyy also said the whole world is waiting for the U.S. elections in November.

Germany is contributing one of the four Patriot systems announced by President Biden as its foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, reckons with

the many challenges facing western democracy, I reached her at NATO to ask about Russia's aggression, the rise of extremism in Europe, and the threat

of an autocratic America under a second Trump government.


AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister, welcome back to our program. Can I ask you whether Ukraine will get the weapons it needs? Can the alliance, will the

alliance, provide the air defenses, for instance, rapidly keep up with Ukraine's needs?

ANNALENA BAERBOCK, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Thanks for having me again on your show. We are doing everything here as an alliance to support Ukraine

because it's crystal clear that Putin and he has underlined it again with the brutality of the last days, also attacking a hospital for children,

that he's not only attacking Ukraine, but he's attacking liberal democracies, the European peace order and therefore, we do everything to

support Ukraine.

Also, and especially with air defense, our third Patriot system from Germany just reached Ukraine, and it was very good to hear yesterday from

the U.S. president, Biden, that they will support Ukraine with further air defense as well.

AMANPOUR: So, you brought up President Biden. I just wonder whether that's a little bit the elephant in the room as the allies wait to see who's going

to run -- who's going to be the next president.


Your Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said that he had no concerns and no worries about President Biden's ability to do this job. What have you been hearing?

What have you -- what impression have you made of the president?

BAERBOCK: This alliance is so strong also because of the important role of the United States, of this administration, within the last two and a half

years. I believe NATO has never been stronger than before and the unity has never been stronger, especially between my country Germany and the United


We are, the two of us, the biggest donor for Ukraine with military support from German side, also with humanitarian support and support for refugees.

And therefore, yes, my chancellor underlined that this close cooperation is also the trust building foundation for the resistance against the Russian

war of aggression and for the support of Ukraine. And I think the president underlined that yesterday night, here at the opening of this NATO Summit.

AMANPOUR: So, you have no concerns that he might not make it to the presidency, to re-election and that Trump might be a second term president.

That must be the conversation in the room right now, no?

BAERBOCK: Well, obviously, liberal democracy are challenged not only from outside, but also from inside. And in these times, you need strong friends

and partners. And this is what this alliance is for. And therefore, we increase, not only as Germany, but as Europeans, our share within NATO.

Now, my country and many, many others are spending 2 percent of their GDP for our common security, for our military capabilities. And also, I made

very clear that the European pillar within NATO has to be strengthened, because the stronger the European pillar is, the stronger our Transatlantic

ties, especially in these times. And I think also here in the United States, it's very clear for many people that the strength of NATO also is

the best guarantee for the security of the United States.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, because all of this is happening, NATO's importance and the 75th anniversary comes at a time of a changing, shifting

political landscape. In Europe, you've seen what's been going on in the European elections. You've seen the rise of the far-right in France, the

rise of the far-right in Germany. The AFD came second in the MEP elections. And you see the potential of, you know, a Trump administration. All of

these people and parties tend to question the commitment to NATO and to Ukraine.

Are you concerned that in the foreseeable future NATO's core mission might be upended by the rising right politics?

BAERBOCK: Obviously, we cannot ignore the race of extreme right-wing parties and also the danger because they are challenging liberal

democracies from inside and are doing part of the job Russia is trying to do from outside. But we shouldn't ignore as well the strengths of

democratic parties and especially democratic cooperation within societies.

We have seen at the last weekends in France that the extreme right didn't succeed in ruling our closest friend and partner in Europe, France. We have

seen that the cooperation between democratic parties is the best resilience.

And therefore, in these times of insecurity, also for many, many people in our society, we have to stand up to our responsibility of cooperation, of

trust. And also ensuring that we stay united, besides all the differences we might have as democracies, because this is normal. But stay united in

our common goal of defending our democracy and our liberty and security.

AMANPOUR: So, as this democracy is threatened from within in so many of the democratic countries, a very interesting demographic shows that in

Germany, for instance, the share of young people who voted for AFD jumped 11 percent in that young age. That's a jump since 2019. Your Green Party

also performed, you know, worse than it did before.

And I wonder, you know, you are part of that movement. How do you hope to inspire young people to defend democracy, to defend the principles of NATO?

And do you ever think yourself of running for chancellor of Germany?


BAERBOCK: Maybe going to the first point, NATO and also our European Union is the strongest insurance for peace order. But this didn't fall from sky,

and we have to explain again and again, especially to younger people who haven't seen the horror of the Second World War what this Europe is all

about. And also, counter fake news on social media way stronger than we did in the past as democracies, being resilient against this propaganda. And we

have to do a better job in this because all together as a democratic parties.

And coming to your second part of the question, obviously, the world is a total different one than at the last German national elections, in the

light of Russia's war progression. And now, also, with regard to the dramatic situation in the Middle East, it needs more diplomacy and not

less, because otherwise, others will fill this gap.

And therefore, in these times of crisis, I believe that political responsibility means, as a foreign minister, not being tied up in a

candidacy for German chancellorship, instead, continue to use all my energy as foreign minister to my role of building trust and building cooperation,

building reliable structures, because so many partners around the world and in Europe count on that.

Having said that, obviously, in election times, I will do everything to support my own party like I did in the past.

AMANPOUR: I understand. I think you're saying yes, but not right now. I think that's what you're saying. What about then diplomacy? Because the

head of the European Council --

BAERBOCK: Every time has its task.

AMANPOUR: OK. In terms of diplomacy, the head of the rotating European Council presidency right now is Hungary. And the prime minister of Hungary

does preside over a far-right government, a very conservative government, and he has decided to go to Ukraine, to go to Moscow, and break the sort of

diplomatic isolation, go to China, and try to figure out a peace process. Is that something that has your support?

BAERBOCK: Well, sometimes you wonder about the ego, especially of some men, because every country in the European Union knows that especially in

the field of foreign politics and security, the responsibility doesn't lie with the presidency, which only lasts six months, but with a high

representative of the European Union, also first, the commissioner president for foreign politics.

And therefore, obviously, he was speaking on his own behalf and what he said. I mean, in Ukraine, stop defending yourself, telling this to the

victim, telling this to the victim of an aggression, which is in total breach, not only of the European Union peace order, but of the charter. And

not telling in China, stop supporting this war of aggression. As you're a member of the Security Council, obviously, it makes very clear that this is

not the foreign policy of the European Union.

AMANPOUR: And the secretary of state of the United States at your summit has said that finally, the F-16s will start flying in Ukraine and defending

Ukrainian airspace by this summer. What more can you tell me about that?

BAERBOCK: Our strength in NATO is not only what this alliance was founded for, one for all and all for one, but also that you cooperate in the

difficult moment in the most efficient way. And this is why allies are contributing now. And we have been working on this within the last two

years intensively on all the expertise they do have.

We in Germany, for example, are very strong on air defense. This is why we are delivering systems like Patriot, the IRIS-T (ph) and many, many others.

Others supporting with the F-16s, you are just mentioning. And in combination, all of this just has one goal, to defend the sovereignty, the

liberty of Ukraine, helping the Ukrainian army to free the country. And also, by that, defending our European way of life in peace and security.


AMANPOUR: Now, overshadowing to an extent your summit is the ongoing, raging war in the Middle East. And it's 10 -- it looks like it's expanding.

Let's first start with Gaza and the humanitarian crisis. You know, you've announced billions -- or rather millions of euros in more aid. After nine

months of war, the U.N. is now declaring a famine does exist in Gaza. And we don't know but there's constant talk about a ceasefire or release of

hostages something, but it hasn't yet materialized.

What do you think is going to be the next steps? And do you think Germany, with all its historical baggage, is holding all sides of that conflict to


BAERBOCK: This is what we have working on the last nine months. I've been there many, many times, also like my dear friend and colleague Tony

Blinken, underline that Israel can only live in peace if Palestinians are living in peace. And Palestinians can only live in peace if Israelis can

live in peace. And this is what we are working on constantly, also with Arab partners. And therefore, the Biden plan is the only way to come out of

this total disaster.

I was recently there, gave a speech at that security conference at Herzliya, and made clear that if you look at the suffering of the people,

and one mother of a hostage told me that it doesn't bring back my own child, my own son.

If another mother loses now in Gaza, their child. And this is what we have to do to end the suffering for both sides, to see the humanity, making

clear that the terrorist attacks from Hamas have to stop, that the hostages have to be freed, that humanitarian aid has to come in, that we come to a

ceasefire, and that we do not lose the sight of a lasting peace plan, meaning a two-state solution.

I know that it's really hard, and you can sometimes really lose the trust in the future, but I think there's no alternative on that than building a

future altogether. Because otherwise, aggression will rule this world.

AMANPOUR: You've also criticized the increasing settler violence, Israeli settler violence in the West Bank, and saying parts of the Israeli

government coalition are stirring up trouble and endangering long-term Israeli security interests with their aggressive settler policy. That's a

quite clear. And I think it matches also what the U.S. says.

But what about tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border? Everybody has said they just don't want a wider war. Do you think it's going to explode into a

wider war?

BAERBOCK: Because Israel's security is, for my country, raison d'etat, we are working on so many fields and fronts that there will be not an

escalation. And this means the West Bank, I want intensively, as you have mentioned, that an escalation in the West Bank, a weakening of the P.A. is

a total drama. And therefore, the funding of the P.A. has to go on because, I mean, if schools are not running anymore in the West Bank, because the

financial guarantees, which the Oslo guarantees gave to the Palestinians are not there anymore. This won't secure the security of Israel and same

goes for the northern front you mention.

I have been speaking to both sides again and again. I end here so often, especially from the people, but also from the governments. We don't want to

have another war between Israel and Lebanon, but we shouldn't slide into another war. And this is the danger we are currently on, that it's a tit

for tat. And therefore, again, diplomacy and also the efforts of the special envoy, Hochstein, from the United States is so important. And

therefore, we are calling strongly on de-escalation. And this was also my message to Iran, which obviously plays a role in this whole situation.

AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

BAERBOCK: Thank you as well and best greetings to you.


AMANPOUR: So, following on from what we just heard, Israel's war in Gaza is another key challenge to NATO, as fear of an all-out war on the Israel-

Lebanon border is also rising. Two Israeli civilians were killed in a Hezbollah rocket attack on the Golan Heights, the occupied Golan Heights on

Tuesday. Hezbollah says the attack was a retaliation for the killing of a senior commander.

Now, today, Israel says its air force struck another Hezbollah site in central Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Ibrahim Moussawi is a senior member of

Hezbollah and an MP in the Lebanese Parliament. I spoke to him just before this most recent escalation about the risks of an all-out war, the

civilians caught in the middle, and also, I challenged him on his own past comments, as you'll hear. He joined me from Beirut.



AMANPOUR: Dr. Ibrahim Moussawi, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: You represent Hezbollah in parliament. You are an MP. And so, I want to ask you in the context of really heightened tensions and military

activity across the border with Israel there's a growing concern, obviously, that this war could spread. Do you -- how would you characterize

the risk of a major war right now between Hezbollah and Israel?

MOUSSAWI: Well, ever since the eruption of the conflict and the hostilities of the Israelis after the 7th of October and after the

engagement between Hezbollah and the Israeli enemy, we have stick to certain rules all of the time that we targeted the military positions of

the Israelis, especially in the occupied areas and Lebanon.

Then there has been an escalation from the Israeli side. And then, we have put a formula that every time the Israeli enemy escalates the situation, we

would escalate equally and above. And this is the -- things has gone so far. I believe we are not on the advent of any kind of an -- a

comprehensive war and or open war. The Israelis don't want that. The Lebanese don't want that. Even the regional and the international powers do

not want that. Maybe Netanyahu himself.

Once this kind of comprehensive break out of the front, we're trying to bring the Americans to engage directly into the conflict. But according to

my estimations and our understanding, it's not in anybody's interest to go in to an all-out war.

AMANPOUR: So, that's really interesting because the IDF on when -- you know, last week, killed a senior Hezbollah commander in the south of

Lebanon. You know, and as you said, each time we have something, we respond equal and higher. And Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah said, if

war is imposed, the resistance will fight without constraints, rules, or limits. What exactly is he saying? Is he making a threat?

MOUSSAWI: Yes, it is a threat. Yes, it is a warning. Yes, it is an indicative to the whole world that if the Israelis are going to impose a

war, and this will put the equation on its proper place. We are reacting to a hostility. We are responding to an action. And we are retaliating to an

attack or to account of assassination or targeting our peoples and our area.

That's why, from the very beginning, we are making the price very high on the Israeli enemy not to go into any kind of risk of this kind.

AMANPOUR: Now, some western estimates, and you've probably seen the press accounts, say that Hezbollah has about 150,000 rockets and missiles, quite

sophisticated, and that they might even overwhelm the equally sophisticated Israeli Iron Dome defense in a first round. Do you think that's true?

MOUSSAWI: I can assure you that we have enough arsenal. We have enough ammunition. We have enough rockets, missiles, whatever it takes in order to

respond in a very effective way against any Israeli aggression, against any Israeli major hostility against our people, against our land.

This is something that Hezbollah has done a long time ago. This is something that I want to draw the attention because of the failure of the

International Community to address the Palestinian crisis in a good way because of the -- this unleashed power of the Israelis to destroy, to kill

children, to kill women, to destroy this major magnitude of destruction in Gaza.

This is an indication of the failure of the International Community, of the Security Council, of the United Nations to find just solutions to the

problems that are there. So, that's why we have accumulated enough expertise and enough missiles and rockets and ammunition to make

retaliation and to make any kind of adventure from the Israeli side, a very costly one.

AMANPOUR: So, as you know, and you alluded to this, Lebanon just doesn't want another war, the prime minister doesn't want it, the Lebanese people

don't want it, so many people are urging you, Hezbollah, not to pursue a war. And I remember covering the 2006 war, and Israel attacked, you know,

in response, et cetera, right inside to Beirut and it was devastation, and it took a long, long time to rebuild. And 80 percent of Lebanese are living

in poverty right now.

Why would Hezbollah invite more damage to your own country, to your own people, and your political party as well? What's in it for you?


MOUSSAWI: You have to see the two perspectives. It's not only one way, one front. We are responding to an attack. I have to remind you and the whole -

- those who are following up that, still, parts of our land is occupied. Many places -- many ambitions of the Israelis against our oil, against our

water, against our soil. They never responded and they never made the international resolutions materialize. They never put it in practice. The

425, which was like the resolution by the International Community, by the United Nations, it was not put into effect.

But because of the resistance -- and again, this the -- any kind of resolutions is not being respected or is not being applied by the Israelis.

That's why we need to defend ourselves. We are not inviting a war. With our deterrence force, we are filling a gap and we are telling the Israelis in a

very strong way that this is going to cost you so much. And this is a deterrent for an all-out war rather than inviting it.

Nobody wants to see a war. We all hate the war. We know that war would invite havoc and destruction and many people would be killed. But at the

same time, you see, I see, everybody sees what they are doing in Gaza, this is a kind of genocide, this is a kind of apartheid, this is a kind of

destruction that were unparalleled, unprecedented in the history. Gaza is enough of a witness for what kind of brutality, hostility, and genocidal

war the Israelis are waging.

AMANPOUR: So, you know, you use the word genocide, obviously Israel disagrees with that, although many in the Arab world do use that word, but

Israel rejects that.

MOUSSAWI: According to law, the criminal law, they are exercising genocide against the Palestinian people.

AMANPOUR: The South Africans have brought a case alleging that, nothing has been adjudicated. The ICC has brought a case accusing them of crimes

against humanity and war crimes, not genocide. But in -- but let's just move away from that term because I need to ask you, on October the 8th --

MOUSSAWI: If this is not genocide, what is genocide then?

AMANPOUR: I'm not having a semantic argument right now with you, Mr. Moussawi. What I want to ask you is this, some of your --

MOUSSAWI: I understand. I respect that.

AMANPOUR: OK. All right. I appreciate it. But I want to ask you about some of the stuff you've said. So, about nine months ago, October 7th happened.

Even Yahya Sinwar, allegedly, according to leaked intercepts by the Wall Street Journal said he didn't expect that amount of civilian killing inside

by the various groups inside Israel.

But on October 8th, you said Palestine had never witnessed glorious victories like the one we are witnessing today. And you have apparently

posted some inflammatory things, including an antisemitic image. of an Israeli baby drinking the blood of Palestinians. And again, back in 2002,

it was reported that you said Jews were a lesion on the forehead of history.

So, you talk about humanity. Do you stand by those words or do you accept that the humanity of those Israeli civilians was also attacked?

MOUSSAWI: Well, let me put it this way. This is a decontextualization. I didn't say that. I didn't say Jews is the legion of the history. And I

defended myself many times. And I take your platform, your CNN to say, I've never said that. I said, what the Israeli occupation is doing is a stain in

the forehead of humanity. This is what I said. I didn't say anything about Jews.

I have many Jewish friends. I invited Jewish rabbis to Lebanon 2005 and 2004, and I have friends who were in Manchester, in Britain. I invited them

here. I have nothing against the Jews. We have nothing against the Jews. There are many Jews who are not -- who are antizionists and they are not

supporting Israel. So, I make a very clear discrimination and differentiation. This is one thing.

I never said that they drank the blood of the children or whatever. This is, again, something that is -- has been put in my mouth. What I say, I say

clearly, in a very responsible way and publicly, I never take my words that I said. And if I made any wrong, I'll say I made a mistake. But both

allegations are complete allegations and fabrications that I didn't say.

AMANPOUR: What about on October 8th when you said Palestine had never witnessed glorious victories like the one we're witnessing today?

MOUSSAWI: Absolutely. Yes, of course. And this is something that I said, but you talked something else about blood --

AMANPOUR: No, no, these were three things I put to you.


MOUSSAWI: Yes. OK. Now, as for the 7th of October, yes. The kind of humiliation that has been put to the Israeli military, to the Israeli

might, to those who couldn't find anyone in the International Community to stop them, yes, it was a victory for the Palestinians.

Anyway, things are by their results. Everything is good if it ends good. We don't like wars. We hate wars. We don't want to see destruction and

killing, but we want to see justice taking its place. What happened was a kind of restoration to the justice by bringing the Palestinian cause back

to the lights in the eyes of the International Community.

What would you call the -- this kind of awakeness of the elite and the students and the academics, and Britain and France and the United States

itself, when they saw, after this long time of brainwashing, they were able to see they want to see Palestine free and they are supporting the freedom

of Palestine?

I believe what happened then, because Israel depends solely on its military machine, this killing machine, yes, it was a victory to the Palestinian

cause. And we have to wait and see the results that will come and the results that will unfold in the future before we make rushing conclusions.

AMANPOUR: I would like to ask you just to tell me whether you are able to distinguish between civilians, women and children and kids who were

massacred, and whatever military force that you're talking about. Can you make that distinction? Distinction because without that there is no peace.

There's no room for anything.

MOUSSAWI: We have never targeted civilians. And you know that the Israelis are well known for their litany of massacres against the people. I can

mention scores of massacres in Lebanon. I remind you about Sabra and Shatila. I'll remind you about Qana. I remind you about Mansouri. I can

tell you scores of massacres that the Israelis have done. And now, you know, they support it. I mean, it's there. They are publicly saying that

they want to get rid of all of the Palestinians. They are the goyim, according to them.

For us, we have targeted and we continue to target the military might of the Israelis and the military personnel.


MOUSSAWI: We only respond when they target our civilians.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me just -- I need to absolutely say, because there is an image of this, it's called a blood libel, when you're talking about

these kinds of issues, that you posted a cartoon which you deny having posted, but you did and it's still up there. An Israeli baby drinking the

blood of Palestinians. Can I move on please?

It is well known that you are part of the so-called Axis of Resistance that is backed by Iran since, as you mentioned, 1982, the invasion of Lebanon,

Sabra and Shatila, et cetera. You -- or rather your leader Nasrallah, has had a conversation with the new Iranian president. What is -- you know, is

Hezbollah a Lebanese national group, or as it's accused of, is it an Iranian branch?

MOUSSAWI: Well, I can tell you with all the pride, with all dignity, with all honor that we are proud to be Lebanese. We are Lebanese. We continue to

be Lebanese. We are not Iranians. We don't work for Iran. We're not proxies of Iran. We are an Axis of Resistance against an occupation that has

targeted us all as Arabs, as Muslims, as Christians.

Because the Israelis in Gaza, they targeted the churches as much as they targeted the hospitals and the mosques and the educational centers and the

schools and, and, and. Now, when Israel takes the support of France, Britain, Germany, the United States of America, who come from thousands of

miles to support this occupation that has been imposed in our region, I believe the people of the region, with all the pride and honor, we have the

right to be one front and to stand up to this kind of challenges, hostilities, aggressions, occupation, colonialism. This is a colonial power

that has been installed here in our region, and we have the right as a resistance, as people who have the same threat, the same enemy, the same

occupation to fight as one.

We are independent. And I can tell you that Hezbollah is more independent than many governments and states per se in the region because they are

proxies of the Americans, and they are being dictated by the Americans to do this or not to do that. While we as a national group, Lebanese group,

proud to be Lebanese, we support a moral issue of Palestine, of Gaza, and we try to do our best, our duty, our moral, religious, humane duty to

support them.

AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you a final question about a military issue. So, back in the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, afterwards Hassan

Nasrallah said that he wouldn't have conducted the operation that launched the war if he had known the damage that would result. And we know how much

damage resulted. He told the New York Times that.


Now, I want to know, because you mentioned it, U.N. resolutions, et cetera. The United States wants you to move your forces farther back from the

border, as required by the U.N. Security Council resolution that was passed after the 2006 war. Is there any possibility that you will move your forces

back, that Israel will move its forces back, and like that, you can eliminate this conflict on this border?

MOUSSAWI: I can tell you that if an all-out war erupts this time, the Israelis -- and of course, we don't want to start this. If the Israelis

started it, they are the ones who would say that, had we known this kind of destruction will happen, we wouldn't have started it. This is one thing.

The other thing, this is a situation of wait and see. We don't want -- we don't know what kind of situation will prevail when we reach there. That's

why we follow this kind of constructive ambiguity and we don't say anything about it. We wait and see, and then we will take the right decision at the

right time.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Moussawi, thank you very much indeed.

MOUSSAWI: Pleasure. Thank you.


AMANPOUR: Next to the United States, where IVF delivers over 90,000 American babies every year, and is driving a wedge not only between

parties, but also within the GOP itself. In her recent piece, Sasha Nauta, The Economist social affairs editor, highlights how Republicans who've

opposed abortion rights are struggling to back the moral argument to ban IVF. And the journalist joins Hari Sreenivasan now to discuss its potential

impact on the upcoming election.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Sacha Nauta of The Economist, thanks so much for joining us. You wrote a

piece recently that said, will IVF really be the next frontier and America's culture wars? Tell us how did we get here? Why is it a culture

war? I mean, is responsible for, what, almost 90,000 babies being born every year?

SACHA NAUTA, SOCIAL AFFAIRS EDITOR, THE ECONOMIST: Yes, Hari, I mean, this question was partly raised because it's a line that you will often hear

from Democrats saying Republicans first came for abortion then they came for IVF, and next they'll come for birth control. And so, we felt it was

time to dig into this a bit more. Is there any truth to this statement?

And in short, there is. Not because, as you say, you know, 90,000 kids a year are born thanks to this technology. It is widely supported by, you

know -- it is, I think, nearly nine in 10 Americans are in favor of IVF. So, it would be a hugely unpopular thing for Republicans to go after.

But the reason why, you know, it is on the table and it could become America's next cultural war is because it is a logical -- being

uncomfortable with IVF is a logical extension from being uncomfortable with abortion. Particularly the sort of most ardent parts of the prolife

movement have always believed in this concept that a, basically from the moment of conception, a fetus has the same rights as you and I.

And we saw this play out in Alabama earlier this year when the Supreme Court there made a ruling that, in effect, overnight suddenly led to a

panic where IVF clinics stopped providing IVF. And so, yes, we think there is something to this statement. We don't think it's about to happen

tomorrow, but it certainly could be on the table, yes.

SREENIVASAN: Let's flush out the kind of the moral argument against it here. If you consider life beginning at conception, why is IVF, the process

of bringing life out into the world, going to be problematic?

NAUTA: So, the basic biology here is that for IVF, what happens is you take -- you tend to fertilize a number of eggs. So, a woman takes

medication to stimulate the production of eggs. Hopefully, you'll have like 10 or a dozen eggs. You'll fertilize them with sperm and you'll hopefully

produce a number of embryos, more than you would place to try to have a child.

And again, if you're lucky as a woman, say the first embryo takes and you've got nine left in the lab you may not -- you know, you may not want

10 children in total. Another -- so, there's excess embryos, again, for those who are lucky enough to make enough, but there's also embryos that

perhaps won't pass, so-called pre-genetic screening. There might be problems with the embryos.


And so, the basic process very much tends to involve the destruction or disposal of excess embryos. And that's the core problem. And you're right,

a lot of Republicans who came out in favor of IVF sort of said, well, there's nothing more pro-life, you know, than helping families create life,

right? But there is a real tension here with the core pro-life argument that life starts at conception.

SREENIVASAN: With the notion of fetal personhood, we've seen a number of states implement laws codifying this. What happened in Alabama?

NAUTA: What happened in Alabama was that a number of couples who were going through IVF were very, very unlucky in that their frozen embryos were

destroyed by accident. And they sued. And in suing, their case made it all the way to the Alabama Supreme Court, which made an unusual ruling, but

actually a ruling which is consistent with what we've been talking about. They said, this can be a wrongful death suit because, actually, these

frozen embryos, they count as children under Alabama State law.

And the consequence of that is that IVF clinics went, whoa, OK, hang on, that could make us criminally liable for wrongful death. Not just in this

accidental disruption, but for everybody's IVF procedure.

SREENIVASAN: So, when the fertility clinics in Alabama decided that this liability was too much and that they needed to close, what was the state's


NAUTA: The state obviously got a lot of phone calls from out of state Republicans and general supporters of IVF and they rushed to get through a

stopgap law, essentially a shield law, that was put in place, I think about three weeks or so after. So, there was this pause in treatment. Then the

state legislature rushed through the shield law, which essentially gives immunity to both patients as well as clinics.

So, it sort of shields the IVF sector, if you will, as well as those using it from the consequences of the personhood of the idea that fetuses have

rights. But they didn't deal with the underlying issue. And that's a real - - that's -- that thread is going to come back. I think we will hear about Alabama again.

SREENIVASAN: So, what happened in Alabama, I mean, this might be instructive to our audience, is that they didn't necessarily reverse the

idea of fetal personhood, they -- you're saying they just created the shield taking the liability out of the hands or off the shoulders of the

IVF clinics and the people who are using them, right?

NAUTA: That's right. And what's happening now is that two of the couples who were involved in the initial suit are actually saying that the shield

law is unconstitutional. And so, they'd like the shield law actually to -- they say, you know, it's unconstitutional. It should be gotten rid of. So,

again, that shield law is going to be challenged. So, this is why I think it might come back. Because, as you've pointed out, the underlying basic

principle that an embryo has the same rights as a child has not been dealt with.

SREENIVASAN: When it comes to the Republicans that are staunchly pro-life, you know, are they a bit into a corner here? On the one hand, they do agree

with the idea of fetal personhood. But on the other hand, I'm sure they have constituents who are died (ph) in the war Republican who want to have

a baby and want to use this technology.

NAUTA: Yes, they are backed in a corner. And we saw -- you know, back in February, we saw them struggling with this saying, I am pro-life. I'm also

pro-IVF. This should be impossible. We know -- actually Gallup did some good polling on this, we know that over eight in 10 Americans think IVF is

morally acceptable, but only about half of Americans are thinking it is morally acceptable to destroy these excess embryos. So, that's an

inconsistent view, right? You can't really have both.

And yet, so far, people have been able to hold both views, but as this issue becomes more and more political and, you know, as both parties push

each other on being clearer on what their consistent position is, the harder it becomes for Republicans to hold -- to try to continue to hold

both views.

SREENIVASAN: Now, this is an election year. Former President Donald Trump has said, look, this should basically be a state's right issue, sort of

just like he has with abortion. But what happens to the national Republican Party, the party platform, the planks, if you will, when it comes to the

convention? Does this create enough of a rift in the pro-life community saying, you know what, this is inconsistent with this?


NAUTA: I mean, the pro-life community has actually been quite vocal about their problems with IVF. We saw the Southern Baptist convention last month

overwhelmingly adopt a resolution in which they opposed IVF as currently practice and called it dehumanizing the U.S. Conference of Bishops,

similar, the Heritage Foundation. So, there's a lot of pressure from the pro-life side on Republicans to have a more morally consistent position on


I don't think IVF will be enough to break this coalition, but I think this underlying issue of personhood will come back again and again. And in fact,

you know, you mentioned the party platform as we get ready for the Republican Convention, the party platform have adopted the new language on

abortion, which I know has been presented in the press as sort of a softening of Donald Trump's position on abortion. And the reality is, it's

very hazy language.

I've talked to several legal scholars, all of whom say he's, you know -- they're trying to shear horn all sorts of -- they're trying to square this

circle that we've been talking about. Over time, I find it very hard to see how the Republican Party can continue to stay in sync with the direction

that the pro-life movement is going.

SREENIVASAN: As we have this conversation about IVF laws, there do seem to be parallels in how different state legislatures are dealing with access to

abortion. If it is left to be a state's right issue, are there parallels here between how IVF as a technology will be treated, how abortions, how

access to contraception will be treated as well?

NAUTA: There are definitely parallels. And those who work in the IVF field, right from the moment that Roe versus Wade was overturned two years

ago now, said, you know, lobbying abortion back to the states also will put IVF on the table. So, by removing the protections of Roe, it has been left

up to every state to start dealing with these questions of where does life begin? What does that mean for the medical practices in our state? So,

there is a direct connection with abortion.

I think that the big parallel that you hear IVF providers talk about a lot is that they worry that in conservative states or states that are anti-

abortion, pro-life you will start to see -- you won't see many ban bans, but you'll see an eroding of access. And we saw that during the protections

of Roe.

You'll remember, you know, in theory, abortion was legal everywhere in America, but in practice, there were many states where it became harder and

harder for women to access abortion, all sorts of extra regulations were put in place that made it harder and harder to access. And the big fear is

that you'll see a similar chipping away of access to IVF, perhaps even to contraception in some of these similar states. And yes, that is the big


So, whether that's by regulation, by being stricter about how embryos can be treated, perhaps, how many embryos you might be allowed to create for

IVF, whether you can freeze them, whether you can destroy them but -- whether you can genetically test them. But there's also -- you know,

there's also the kind of knock-on consequences of the chilling environment that's been created due to abortion bans.

So, we've heard from states with strict abortion bans that they are struggling more and more with getting OB/GYNs. Again, you can see a knock-

on for fertility doctors. So, it's not that hard to see how, in some of these states, even if as we expect, IVF will broadly remain legal or become

harder and harder to access in a country where, by the way, it is already very expensive to access IVF.

SREENIVASAN: Heading into this election cycle, is this going to be enough of an issue where -- I mean, we have seen Democrats definitely mobilize

around abortion access and reproductive rights, right, and I wonder -- I mean, you spent some time in Arizona for this story. What were you seeing

on the ground when it comes to mobilizing on either side?


NAUTA: Yes. I mean, I think reproductive rights, the idea -- the basic idea that the state is getting in the way of women and families is, you

know, reproductive choices is clearly not sitting well with the majority of Americans. Polling shows that -- for all the issues we've just talked

about, right, for abortion, for IVF and for contraception.

What I saw in -- and sorry, to your question on the election, I think next it's quite clear who this helps. It helps Democrats. The Republican

position on these issues is not in line with the majority of Americans. What I saw in Arizona -- in fact, the Arizonans, I think it was a few days

ago, handed in these signatures for their ballots initiative, and they've managed to collect I believe over 800,000 signatures, most in the state's

history for this petition to protect abortion. And so -- and they are one of many states that have done this.

So, in November, we will see a number of states, including Florida, including Nevada. And if these signatures are -- if enough of them are

verified in Arizona, you know, important swing states, not just voting on a president, but also voting on their state's constitution and whether it

should have a protection to abortion. So, that really matters. That really, really matters.

And what was inspiring to see in Arizona is just how broad a coalition these grassroots movements are finding to get -- because basically they

have to collect signatures from ordinary Arizonans, and I saw a range of people signing, this is not just your classic reproductive rights people

signing them, it's libertarians, it's, you know, Trump voters who are very angry about the state getting into these kind of issues. So, it definitely


It will play -- it will net help Democrats. I guess the big question is, will it help them enough?

SREENIVASAN: Do you think that the choice of candidate will matter in how this plays out? I mean, the current uncertainty around President Biden and

whether he's going to be the party's nominee or not, with the advocates that you spoke to, either on the pro-life side or the IVF side, do they

have any thoughts on that?

NAUTA: I think that the choice of candidate is a totally fair question. I think the advocates are not wild about Joe Biden on this issue. He's -- you

know, he's not comfortable with the word abortion. They all track whether he said it. That they much prefer a Kamala Harris on this issue, who's more

comfortable talking about the subject.

It's a double-edged sword though, because I would say that it's not the activists that the Dems need to worry about, it's probably more the people

in the middle who are in favor of some access to abortion, who would not, you know, call themselves sort of a part of the abortion positivity

movement, which is more on the activist side.

And so, it's a double-edged sword for Dems in terms of who they go for. There's no way they're going to go for anybody. You know, if Joe Biden

isn't the candidate, I find it impossible to imagine, you know, the basic credential is you're going to have to be pro-choice.


NAUTA: But within that, there's a real balancing act. You know, do you go for a candidate who the activist wing is really comfortable with, who's

happy to talk about abortion as being, you know, a non-stigmatized issue, something that everybody should be able to approach and not really talk

about term limits or do you go for someone who actually -- strangely, Joe Biden actually is not that -- I personally believe he's not that bad a

candidate, because in his discomfort, and he's had an evolution, right, in terms of where he stands on the issue, he's probably actually voicing the

discomfort of quite a lot of sort of middle America.

SREENIVASAN: Sacha Nauta, the social affairs editor of The Economist, thanks so much for joining us.

NAUTA: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: A strong reminder indeed of all the important issues at stake in this year's U.S. election and the weight it carries in the fight to uphold

reproductive rights -- women's rights.

And finally, a future addition to the Soccer Hall of Fame. Spanish prodigy Lamine Yamal has become the youngest ever goal scorer in the Men's European

Championship, at just 16 years old. Who could have missed his daring strike last night that landed Spain a spot in its first final since 2012, earning

Yamal comparisons to the greatest, including Lionel Messi.


Coincidentally, their paths have already crossed. Viral images on social media show baby Yamal alongside Messi in a charity calendar back in 2007.

Whether it's destiny or not, the teen star will be a force to be reckoned with in Sunday's final.

And that's it for now. But do join us tomorrow when I'll be speaking with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba on the final day of the NATO

Summit in Washington, whether his country is finally getting the weapons it needs to survive and to defeat Russia.

If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. Remember, you can always catch us online, on our

website, and all-over social media.

Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.