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North Korea and Russian Leaders Wrapped their Rare Meeting in East Russia; U.S. House Speaker Launches Impeachment Inquiry against President Joe Biden; Death toll in the massive flooding in Libya now reaches 5,000U.S. Government issues a Waiver to Release Restricted Funds leading to the Release of Five American Prisoners in Iran; Apple drops iPhone 15 with USB-C Charging Capability; Romanian Tennis Star slaps Four-year Ban on Anti-Doping violations. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 13, 2023 - 03:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton, ahead right here on CNN Newsroom.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wrap up talks in eastern Russia, what the two are expected to discuss.

Plus, the presumed death toll from the catastrophic flooding in Libya has more than doubled and as many as 10,000 are still missing.

And the U.S. takes a key step in a deal to free five Americans being detained in Iran. What critics are saying about that agreement?

And we go straight to our breaking news. Kim Jong-un is heaping praise on Russia's Vladimir Putin as the two sit down for their first face- to-face talks in more than four years.

The meeting in Russia's Far East follows days of warnings from the United States about these two leaders possibly sealing a deal on weapons. But they're not talking about that publicly, at least not yet anyway. Instead, the Russian president spoke of cooperation on humanitarian and economic issues. And an availed swipe at the United States and the West, Kim Jong-un applauded President Putin for standing up to, quote, "hegemonic forces to defend its security."

The North Korean leader also pledged his full and unconditional support to all that Russia does in response. Now, earlier, they toured a space launch site, the Vostochny Cosmodrome, and inspected all sorts of spacecraft there. And for the first time, North Korea, this is significant now, fired off two missiles, while Kim Jong-un was outside of the country.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has been following all these developments for us and she is with us now from Hong Kong, truly a significant meeting already. We believe there's more to come, including they're going to sit down for a meal. But what are we learning so far about the extent that these two leaders are willing to go to forge possibly a new, closer relationship?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is what we know, and the meeting is just wrapped. The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, have They have met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The talks have ended after more than an hour. That's according to Russian state media.

And they, earlier, they shook hands, they greeted one another, they toured the facility at the spaceport in Russia. And Kim, he signed the guest book and was seen on camera writing this prose, saying, quote, "Russia, which gave birth to the first conquerors of space, will be immortal." Now his sister was also seen on site. She, of course, is a high-level official. Kim Yo-Jong, she was there as he signed the guest book.

And ahead of the meeting, Putin said that Kim showed great interest in space and rocket engineering. And Putin also said that the leaders will discuss all issues, quote, "without haste." Now this meeting comes just hours after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the waters off the East Coast of the Korean Peninsula, this according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

And analysts point out that this is the first time we've seen a launch with the North Korean leader out of the country, but we have to bear in mind this is a leader who very rarely travels overseas.

Now, this meeting that just wrapped between Kim and Putin, it comes after the U.S. has issued the warning saying that the two are actively advancing their talks over another potential arms deal.

Now, Kim arrived in Russia early on Tuesday morning. It was 6 a.m. Tuesday when he set foot in Hassan. That's the main rail gateway to Russia's Far East. And Kim, he was smiling as he stepped off his train, that famous green train for a Russian red carpet welcome, as you see there. And also on board and traveling with him are North Korea's leading officials, including its top military leaders, as well as its chief diplomat. This is first, the first overseas trip for Kim since 2019, when he went to Vladivostok for his first meeting with Putin.

And the U.S. remains very concerned that North Korea will provide arms to Russia and exchange North Korea in seeking advanced technology for nuclear powered submarines and for satellites. Back to you.


NEWTON: Yeah. It is so interesting, isn't it, Kristie, that we are seeing all of this go on live, live on state TV in Russia, and there has been a lot of video and a lot of interaction between the two leaders. Kristie Lu Stout, I know you're going to continue to watch all of it for us live from Hong Kong. I Appreciate it.

Edward Howell is a North Korea expert and lecturer in politics at Oxford University, and he joins me now from London. Good to have you on the program.

You know, you've been saying for months now that a new and closer relationship between two countries could be a menacing development. Now, I'm sure you don't want to be alarmist and neither does anyone else, but what are the real risks here if these two leaders become very close?

EDWARD HOWELL, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: Thank you very much. So firstly, we have the transaction element of this relationship, where Kim Jong-un is in need of food and, crucially, financial assistance in a declining North Korean economy, but also more advanced and sophisticated technology, and particularly in terms of satellite technology. And North Korea's satellites in recent months have failed quite spectacular fashion.

And for Putin, we know that he needs munitions and he needs artillery shells to continue his plight in Ukraine. Now, even though North Korean artillery shells are not, are seen not to be the best in terms of the accuracy and precision.

The broader ramifications of this meeting are that it will firstly make the U.N. Security Council and put the U.N. Security Council in a very difficult position with respect to trying to address North Korea's nuclear threat.

Already after Russia invaded Ukraine, Russia has been taking North Korea's side. But if a possible arms deal does emerge questions of sanctions violations on the part of Russia also involved.

NEWTON: In terms of Kim Jong-un obviously ordering that two ballistic missiles be fired, he was out of the country at the time, we believe that's one of the first times, or that would be the first time that happened. What do you make of that and what message was he trying to send?

HOWELL: So yes, it is an unusual occurrence, but I think it's sending a clear message that North Korea's quest for nuclear status, particularly international recognition as a de facto nuclear state continues. I think we must also not forget that these summits, much like past summits involving Kim Jong-un, they don't just target international audiences. This is obviously sending a very clear message to the West and international audiences, but they also target domestic audiences.

The same is true for North Korea's missile and nuclear tests, which have a very strong domestic component reaching out to the North Korean population.

NEWTON: Yeah, and also I'm sure in that certainly a message for the Russian population as well as they watch this in some cases live on TV there. And that brings us to another interesting question. What do you think China is making all of this? They certainly have not been seeing to encourage North Korea in its nuclear exploits, seeing them as not a rational actor. Do you think tacitly they would send any kind of message to Russia to be careful? HOWELL: We know that China has been unusually quiet in the prelude to

this meeting, and we know that Chinese and Russian officials will meet in the days to come.

China's ultimate aim is stability on the Korean Peninsula. China seems willing to provide financial assistance to North Korea if that means that the nuclear, North Korea that we have, status quo continues.

We've seen in China's relations with Russia, but China also wants to be seen as a mediator in this. China, Xi Jinping in particular, urging for a peaceful resolution, not only of the issues on the Korean Peninsula, but also of Russia's war in Ukraine.

China's role is key, though, for broader regional security, particularly after claims by Sergei Shoigu, Russia's Defense Minister, that Russian, Chinese and North Korean trilateral military drills could take place. China's role is important, is very important.

NEWTON: Yeah, that would be a significant development indeed. Edward Howell, we will leave it there. I really appreciate your expertise.

HOWELL: Thank you very much.

NEWTON: Now, Russia is accusing Kyiv of launching a missile assault on Sevastopol, the largest city in occupied Crimea. The Russian installed governor there says air defenses were, quote, "at work to repel the attack." But it set fire to the shipyard that builds and repairs ships in the Russian Black Sea Fleet.


Regional officials say 24 people were wounded. Now, Ukrainian officials say at least 20,000 children have been forcibly removed from their homes and brought to Russia or Russian-occupied territory. On Tuesday, an NGO group said it brought 13 of them home. This was Save Ukraine's 11th Rescue Mission so far and they have reunited 176 Ukrainian children with their families. Moscow has denied it has done anything illegal, saying it is instead evacuating children to safety.

But in March, the International Criminal Court put out an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over an alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children.

U. S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has ordered a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. This despite any direct evidence that links Biden to corruption or illegal acts or any evidence to prove allegations that Biden profited from his son's business deals.

The White House responding with a social media post saying McCarthy, quote, "vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment. Now he flip-flopped because he doesn't have support." Also calling the move extreme politics at its worst.

We get more now from CNN's Melanie Zanona.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER (voice-over): Kevin McCarthy facing threats to his speakership, giving the green light to an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

KEVIN MCCARTHY, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: Today, I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

ZANONA (voice-over): A dramatic escalation of the House GOP's investigations into the president.

MCCARTHY: House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden's conduct. Taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption.

ZANONA (voice-over): McCarthy today repeated several allegations made by some of his GOP colleagues, including that as vice president, Biden joined meetings with Hunter Biden's business partners, that the Treasury Department has flagged suspicious financial activity by the Biden family, and that the president has lied about his knowledge of his family's business deals.

But House Republicans have so far not provided evidence that Biden directly profited off his son's business deals or made any decisions as vice president because of them.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): There is zero evidence of any malfeasance on the part of President Joe Biden.

ZANONA (voice-over): The effort has faced resistance from some in the GOP over the lack of evidence.

REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): What I wanted to do was look at the evidence and I said I'll go where the evidence takes me. I'm reluctant to agree with Speaker McCarthy.

ZANONA (voice-over): McCarthy has been facing pressure from the right and former President Donald Trump to move ahead.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Moments ago, Speaker McCarthy endorsed an impeachment inquiry. This is a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more. We must move faster.

ZANONA (voice-over): A trio of House committees leading the way. The Speaker has not put a timeline on the process, though McCarthy ally Marjorie Taylor Greene said there's no rush.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I'm interested in going as long as it takes.

ZANONA (voice-over): But marking a McCarthy reversal, no formal vote on the launch aimed at protecting his most vulnerable members.

UNKNOWN: That puts a lot of seats up at risk, particularly for Republicans who won Biden districts. ZANONA (voice-over): House Republicans believe the public is on their

side. According to a CNN poll, 61 percent of Americans believe Biden was involved in his son's business deals as vice president, while 42 percent think he acted illegally. But some GOP senators are uncertain about McCarthy's approach.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The way to make an inquiry legitimate is to have a vote as to whether or not you should have one at all rather than just the leadership deciding.

ZANONA (voice-over): And Democrats not sweating the threat of impeachment.

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (R-PA): It's devastating. Don't do it. Please don't do it.

ZANONA (on-camera): And House Republicans have already taken their first official step in this impeachment inquiry. On Tuesday afternoon, a trio of House committees sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting all information and all documents about whether Hunter Biden's attorneys encourage IRS whistleblowers to be retaliated against by the Department of Justice. These IRS whistleblowers have claimed that the DOJ mishandled and politicized the criminal probe into Hunter Biden. But the DOJ has denied all wrongdoing.

Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.


NEWTON: Still to come for us, Morocco continues to grapple with the mounting death toll from last week's powerful earthquake, the latest on that disaster ahead.

Plus a historic day in Israel. We'll break down Tuesday's Supreme Court hearing over controversial law limiting the court's powers.




NEWTON: The death toll from the catastrophic flooding in eastern Libya has now soared to more than 5,000, with another 10,000 still missing. That's according to the Red Crescent. Now, one official in the city of Derna says entire residential buildings have been just swept away and about a quarter of the town has disappeared.

People are searching for their loved ones, but cell phone towers have been knocked down, making communication nearly impossible. Some of the images from the disaster zone, we warn you, are quite graphic. Hospitals in Derna are no longer functioning. The morgues are full. And video, as you see there, shows dead bodies lined up on the sidewalks. And now some neighborhoods have now resorted to mass burials. We go live now to CNN's Eleni Giokos, who's been following the latest

developments for us. And Eleni, I honestly don't even know where people begin to try and help Libya, given we had the political turmoil there. And just trying to really coordinate who goes. What more are you learning about attempts to actually get aid to Morocco? Pardon me, to Libya, pardon me.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. There's a lot happening around the world, specifically in North Africa. Look, when it comes to Libya, we are just seeing catastrophic, devastating, and frankly terrifying images. One can only imagine what people have been going through there in the last few days.

In terms of international assistance and it's coming through very quickly, you have Turkey that has sent assistance, likes of Malta, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, is also sending a delegation of people to support.

You have Algeria announcing that they're sending planes and personnel, Tunis as well on the ground. Most of these teams have arrived in Benghazi. They have to make their way to the hardest hit area, which is Derna, as you say, residential buildings being swept away. Frankly, these images look like they're just melting away into the sea.

The human cost is enormous. Estimated numbers right now, very difficult to verify. Right now, we know 5,300 people have lost their lives. The scary part of that is that more than 10,000 people are still missing. Now, Derna in particular has a population of over 100,000 people. And when you see the level of catastrophe, there's a big worry that more people are trapped.

And of course, that the search and rescue now continues. These hours are going to be very critical in terms of getting rescue teams on the ground in a place where roads are impossible, difficult to get through, there are blockages. You've had those two dams that burst, sending mudslides to the city, exacerbating the heavy rainfall that was around 414 millimeters in just one day. That is as much as rain that is received in an eight-month period.

We know that the Libyan National Army that controls the eastern part of the country is saying the situation is out of control, calling for more international aid. The rival government in the west has sent aid, and they're also trying to coordinate more assistance, more generators, trying to get communications back up.

A lot of effort coming through from different parts. The question is, can they get everyone coordinated to assist in this devastating situation that people are dealing with at this stage?

NEWTON: Yeah, Eleni, when we look at the video, I mean, any fully functioning country or government would have a hard time getting that together. And as you point out, it is just so terrifying to think about what the survivors are going to go through now. Eleni, I really appreciate your update on this. And we do go now to Morocco, where the death toll from Friday's

powerful earthquake has now climbed past 2,900 as hopes of finding more survivors fades. State media says the number of people injured is now more than 5,500. In his first public appearance since the quake hit, Morocco's king visited a hospital in Marrakesh Tuesday. He met with injured survivors and donated blood.

Bermuda's Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for the island ahead of Hurricane Lee. It's a category 3 right now, but it is expected, thankfully, to weaken as it nears Bermuda. Strong winds and heavy rain from the outer bands are forecast to reach the island as early as this evening, with the center of the storm making its closest pass on Thursday.

We are watching events in eastern Russia, where President Vladimir Putin is meeting today with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Stay with CNN. We will have the latest in a moment.




NEWTON: Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have finished their rare face- to-face meeting in Russia's Far East that may have included talks on arms and came just hours after North Korea fired off two missiles.

The Kremlin says the two leaders did not sign any documents during their visit to a remote Russian space center, but President Putin spoke of increased cooperation and on that increased cooperation on humanitarian and economic issues.

And the North Korean leader had high praise for his Russian counterpart by taking a swipe at the West. Listen.


KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): Russia is engaged in a fight for justice to defend the sovereign right and security interest against the hegemonic forces. We have been expressing the full and unconditional support to all measures that you have taken in response. And that, in the front line of anti- imperialism and independence, I will always be standing with Russia. I'm using this opportunity to make it clear.


NEWTON: CNN's Katie Polglase has been following all of this for us from London. Katie, some of the images we saw were extraordinary. These were two leaders who really didn't move around much during the pandemic. And right now, in many cases, live on TV, speaking quite a bit during those photo opportunities. I mean, what are we to make of these talks now, given what's at stake for Ukraine, if Russia really does get a weapons deal out of North Korea? KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Well Ukraine is really the

main question here. I mean this is an exceedingly rare trip for Kim to have made outside of North Korea. He rarely ever travels abroad and this is the first time he's traveled in years and this is only the second time he's met President Putin face to face.

This all becomes because of Ukraine. This is what Putin needs. He needs ammunition for his war in Ukraine and North Korea is the current answer for that.

Now this is partly because North Korea has some specialty in this area. They have quite a lot of production capacity for ammunition. This is something that they can provide for Russia and in particular the ammunition would fit directly with Russian weaponry. Some of this ammunition could be slotted straight into Russian machinery on the front lines of Ukraine and work immediately.


Now the issue is going to be getting it there. They are thousands of miles away from the front lines of Ukraine and it would have to be transported across in trains, some quite old Cold War-era trains that may not be that sturdy, that suitable for this kind of transportation.

But really, the key thing here is the fact that Russia is trying to show they are not isolated. There has been a lot of support recently, public support for Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in town in Kyiv just last week declaring support for Ukraine, saying that the Ukrainians' counteroffensive has been making progress. And then the U.S. again giving $1 billion of assistance to Ukraine for this counteroffensive with the hope that it makes a breakthrough in the coming months as we approach winter. When fighting will definitely get considerably more difficult.

Now, the third thing is for Russia is to show that they also have support, that they can also continue this war, that they can also replenish their stocks, prolong the war perhaps with new ammunition from North Korea. And that is the aim here really, to show that they also have other people, other allies that can support them in this conflict as it progresses into some increasingly difficult months. And clearly these front lines are making some very gradual marginal gains for both sides.

NEWTON: And the Kremlin spokesperson there, also adding that of course military interaction in his words was discussed. Katie Poglase for us in London, thanks so much.

Israel's Supreme Court heard arguments from more than a dozen lawyers on Tuesday about the reach and scope of the court's power. Lawyers for the Knesset defended a new law which limits the Supreme Court's ability to strike down government decisions deemed unreasonable.

But as CNN's Hadas Gold reports, now the court has the difficult task of deciding its own fate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Never before in Israeli history have all 15 judges sat together in the Supreme Court in Jerusalem to hear arguments in a case. And what the Supreme Court was listening to was arguments about its own power, about what the Supreme Court does and whether it should continue being able to strike down laws as it used to be able to do until this law was passed in July. Now, what happened in July was that the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, that is now controlled by Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition, they passed a law that strips the Supreme Court of its previous ability to nullify government actions that the Supreme Court deems unreasonable.

This law was an amendment to a basic law. It's the closest thing Israel has to a constitution is this series of basic laws. Now the Supreme Court has never before nullified or struck down a basic law.

But that is what they are potentially considering doing as a result of this hearing today. The government was represented actually by private counsel and their argument was that the Supreme Court should actually have no authority in reviewing basic law, and that should rest with the people and who and the people that they democratically elect to the Israeli parliament. That the Supreme Court should have essentially no power to be able to change the basic laws if they are passed by the Israeli parliament.

The petitioners in this case are arguing that this law damages Israeli democracy and that it harms the authority of the judicial branch. Because, keep in mind that in Israel, there is really no other check on the executive or on the parliament, which are run by the same party usually, except for the Supreme Court.

It is interesting to hear the questions that some of these judges posed to the attorneys. They were asking the attorneys who were representing the government, okay, so fine, if all of this power should rest with the people, then what is the check on the power if, let's say, the government decides that there should be no elections for 10 years, for 20 years? What will be the check on what is reasonable or unreasonable, who will be able to check that on them?

And the government, a lawyer for the government said that the law does not undermine democracy. And this response is really telling from one of the judges. They said democracy dies in a series of small steps. And I think that will be one of the main quotes that will be taken away from this hearing.

Now, although this hearing was a marathon hearing that doesn't mean necessarily that a decision will come quickly, the Supreme Court judges have some time before they need to make that decision that's expected to come before the deadline that is set in mid-January, but there is still a looming, a very big looming question, that is whether the Netanyahu government would even abide by a Supreme Court ruling that strips this law away, that nullifies this law, because so far they have yet to commit to even adhering to a Supreme Court ruling that nullifies this law.

Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem. (END VIDEOTAPE)


NEWTON: The U.S. government has taken a key step in a deal to free five Americans it claims are wrongfully detained in Iran. Now, the Biden administration has now issued a waiver, and it allows banks in South Korea to transfer $6 billion in restricted Iranian funds to Qatar, and that would be without fear of sanctions. Now, it is the clearest sign yet that freedom may be at hand for those Americans. Only three have been identified publicly, but all five have been detained for years.


MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Iran is not going to release these American citizens out of the goodness of their heart. That is not real life. That is not how this works. That was never going to happen. We have to make tough choices and engage in tough negotiations to bring these American citizens home. There were five American citizens who have been jailed under brutal conditions, one of them for more than eight years. And the secretary and the president decided that we need to do everything we can to bring them home, and that's what we're doing.


NEWTON: The State Department there defending the release of that $6 billion. Now Iran's president Rahim Eraisi says his government will decide how and where to spend the newly unfrozen assets, which are supposed to be used for humanitarian purposes.

Trita Parsi is executive vice president of the Quincy Institute and expert on U.S.-Iranian relations and Iranian foreign policy.

Good to see you and good to have you weigh in on this. I mean, simply, why is -- thanks for being here -- why is this a good deal if these Americans do finally, finally make it home?

TRITA PARSI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, QUINCY INSTITUTE: Because these Americans were wrongfully detained in Iran. They are essentially hostages. And for the president to bring home Americans that are innocent from foreign jails is a good thing, ultimately. And I think under all normal circumstances, there would be no question about this.

Because it entails Iran and everything about Iran is politicized in the United States, it ends up becoming a controversial issue. But had it been any other country, this would have been an absolute no- brainer.

NEWTON: Right, but these Americans are wrongfully detained in your words because it is a political matter, because it is Iran. I just want to take one example of Republican criticism, and this is from Senator Ted Cruz. He says, President Biden has established a secret nuclear deal with the Iranian regime that is being kept from Congress and the American people. Today's news confirms there has already been a side deal, including a

$6 billion ransom and the release of Iranian operatives. Well, what do you say to that contingent of criticism?

PARSI: This is not a nuclear deal. This is a deal to bring home Americans that have been wrongfully detained in Iran. There's no nuclear component to this deal. So I am not really sure why the senator is trying to confuse this with a nuclear deal. And with a nuclear deal, if there is an agreement, there is a law that says that the White House needs to take the matter to Congress if there's been any changes to the previous nuclear deal. But this is not a nuclear deal. There is no nuclear concessions or anything of that kind that is entailed.

NEWTON: Understood. And you've made that clear. And many people have pointed that out, that this is just not, doesn't have anything to do with that nuclear deal. Having said that, you know, many people view this as cash for prisoners. It's used as currency, as leverage. Why wouldn't Iran see this as ransom? And if that's true, does it really discourage Iran from imprisoning others?

PARSI: Well, this is leverage. The United States throws Iranian money. This is not America's money. This is Iranian money. And they froze it as leverage. And if it's to be used as leverage, what better leverage to use it than to bring Americans home?

Now, if it is so that the Iranians took these people prisoners after the money was frozen, perhaps there would be an argument to say that releasing the money will just encourage the Iranians to take more prisoners. But many of these prisoners have been in Iranian prisons for seven years, long before this money was frozen.

So, as a result, I just simply don't think the argument holds up. And to say that this is actually fueling further hostage-taking. If anything, we know that the pattern of the last 40 years is that when relations between the United States and Iran are extremely tense, that's when it seems to be more likely that the Iranian government will take hostages of this kind.

So if that is what we're trying to prevent, well then the answer is they're trying to actually resolve our tensions to make it as unlikely as possible that they will do this in the future. Resolving those tensions means exactly what the president is doing right now, which is to bring these Americans home and then start trying to resolve the other questions and points of tensions between the two countries. Just keeping these Americans in prison does absolutely nothing to reduce the tensions and by that reducing the likelihood of future hostages.


NEWTON: In fact, you argue because this whole issue is so politicized that they're always looking for coercive solutions to problems with Iran. I mean, if you believe U.S. leaders are willing to take some political flak, would they accomplish more with Iran? Do you really believe that? PARSI: Oh, certainly. I mean, it is no surprise, for instance, that

the big measures that President Obama took and that eventually led to the nuclear deal in 2015 took place in his second term when he felt more confident than when he was less vulnerable to political criticism because he was not going to run obviously for a third term.

So I think this is also true on the Iranian side that because of the political cost of these matters, the type of creativity and political will needed to resolve many of these different issues simply have been lacking because it is extremely politically costly.

Again, under other circumstances, if this was another country, the president would be praised right now for bringing Americans home, but instead he's facing criticism for having brought innocent Americans home from foreign prisons. That tells you how politicized this issue is. And frankly, you know, unfortunately, part of the reason why we're seeing less of these (inaudible) created, measures that resolve tensions because you actually pay a higher political price for that than for just simply continuing the conflict.

NEWTON: Well it is certainly portrayed as capitulation by some. We will leave it there, Trita Parsi, as we continue to see whether or not these prisoners do make it home in the next few days. I Appreciate it.

PARSI: Thank you so much.

NEWTON: Up next for us, Apple unveils its newest devices. A look at the major iPhone updates that are being rolled up.




NEWTON: Apple has unveiled its newest devices, including the latest iPhone lineup with an all-new design. Now the iPhone 15 comes in several sizes and colors, ok, so far so normal, features updates to the camera, and what's described as an expanded dynamic island tool that is home to alerts, notifications and other controls. Now, one of the biggest changes, how consumers will charge those phones.

Apple is getting rid of the lightning port and charger after 11 years and turning to USB-C chargers, a cable that finally is compatible with non-Apple products. Hooray.

The company is also rolling out its new Apple Watch Series 9, which is billed as Apple's first ever carbon-neutral product. The device is fitted with a new chip to make it faster and brighter.

Regulators in France, meantime, want the iPhone 12 withdrawn from the market immediately, claiming it emits too much radio frequency radiation and is not compliant with E.U. standards. The French government says all sales of the iPhone 12 will be halted until it is brought into compliance. Apple has given two weeks to respond. TikTok is trying once again to crack the e-commerce market in the

United States. The shorter video platform, the short form, pardon me, video platform owned by a China-based company officially launched TikTok Shop on Tuesday. After almost a year in testing, it allows users to find and directly buy products used in live videos tagged in content or pinned on brand profiles. It's also offering a program called Fulfilled by TikTok, which handles storing, packing and shipping for sellers. Now back in 2021, TikTok partnered with Shopify on an e-commerce deal that failed to connect with consumers.

One of the top names in women's tennis is sidelined due to anti-doping violations, what former world number one Simona Halep plans to do to try and get back on court.




NEWTON: The former head of Spain's Football Federation has been summoned to testify before the Spanish National Court Friday, as after prosecutors submitted a complaint against Luis Rubiales for the alleged crimes of sexual assault and coercion.

Now, this is part of the investigation into the unwanted kiss he gave player Jennifer Hermoso at the Women's World Cup final. Rubiales resigned from his position over the weekend following weeks of criticism.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency has banned Romanian tennis player Simona Halep for four years for anti-doping violations. Now, the two-time Grand Slam champion has been suspended since last October after the agency said she tested positive for a substance that artificially stimulates red blood cell production. Halep's coach says he can't believe it's come to this.


PATRICK MOURATOGLOU, SIMONA HALEP'S COACH: I'm extremely shocked. I'm shocked because I've been with her through the whole process. And the decision is completely, for me, impossible to understand. And also the way she has been treated by the ITIA all the way through the process. So unfairly, it's shocking on all levels. During that whole year, the treatment she has received is not normal, unfair and unacceptable for me. She's a victim. She has being contaminated by a product that was supposed to be clean. So she's literally a victim.

When you're a victim and you are entering into this process with the ITIA, it's horrible. When you are provisionally suspended, which was the case, you are, and this is written in the rules, you are entitled to a quick hearing. So this is a parody for me. This is a parody of justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: Now for its part, the Women's Tennis Association says it is of the utmost importance for players to be aware of the tennis anti- doping program rules and to follow them, adding it would continue to follow her case very closely. The 31-year-old plans to appeal the ruling, saying she has never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited drug.

The NFL season is officially over for Aaron Rodgers. The New York Jets quarterback will need surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.


The 39-year-old was playing in his first game, first game with the Jets after 18 seasons and four MVP awards with the Green Bay Packers.


ROBERT SALEH, NEW YORK JETS HEAD COACH: I feel more for Aaron than anyone. He is he's invested so much into this organization so much into this journey that he's embarked on and wanting to -- to be a part of what we've got going here and how much he's invested in not only this organization, but his teammates, himself, this fan base, the city. You know, so I have a lot of emotions for him.


NEWTON: The team posted on social media not the way any of us wanted it to go, but we know the commitment you've made to the team will continue to impact us. Get well soon.

I want to thank you for your company. I'm Paula Newton. "CNN Newsroom" continues with my friends Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo. They're next.