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Omicron Variant Tests Nations' Patience with the Unvaccinated; Japan Backtracks on International Flight Restrictions; China Responds to WTA Decision to Halt Regional Tournaments; UAE Celebrates Golden Jubilee; U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Meet over Ukraine Tensions; Iran Starts New Uranium Enrichment amid Vienna Nuclear Talks; Inside Look at Israel's Cybersecurity. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 02, 2021 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): As the Omicron variant fuels an exponential rise in COVID infections in South Africa, rough news for

Germans not vaccinated. They'll be banned from much of public life.

Putting principles before profit: the Women's Tennis Association is suspending tournaments in China over concerns for the safety of Peng Shuai.

And trying to solve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program. It is not easy. We speak to the head of U.N.'s nuclear inspection this hour.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson live from Expo 2020, Dubai. Today is a day of celebration for the UAE, the 50th anniversary since its formation in 1971.

And it is a national holiday here, a day of festivities for the 10 million people who call this country home.

On this Golden Jubilee, I'll be guided into the past by the Minister of Culture and Youth, Noura Al Kaabi. And next hour you'll hear from

ambassador Omar Ghobash, who's had a front row seat to the transformation of this country both as a diplomat and as an Emirati citizen.

Let's start with the news. As the world waits for the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant against current vaccines, countries where vaccines are

prevalent are losing patience with those who haven't gotten the jab.

Germany, in the midst of a big COVID surge, has just announced it is banning unvaccinated people from all but the most essential businesses.

They also face contact restrictions in private settings.

In South Africa, where Omicron is fast becoming the dominant variant, the premier of the country's most populous province is urging people to get

vaccinated immediately, amid what he called a situation of great concern.

And in the coming hours, U.S. President Joe Biden will lay out his plans for those reluctant to get the shots, ahead of a possible winter surge. Our

reporters are bringing you the latest from Europe, from Africa and from Asia, Fred Pleitgen from Berlin, David McKenzie in Johannesburg, Ivan

Watson in Hong Kong.

Fred, lay out what we know.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think one of the things you just said is exactly what the German government feels. And

Angela Merkel and designated successor said as well. They're losing patience with people who have so far refused or not gotten vaccinated yet.

Therefore the lockdown measures that were announced today, those tougher restrictions, they essentially count only for unvaccinated people. One

thing being talked about here in German media and German society is this is essentially a lockdown for the unvaccinated.

Now unvaccinated are essentially being locked out of all businesses except for the most essential ones, like, for instance, supermarkets and

pharmacies as well. But you're also talking about recreational indoor sports facilities, indoor clubs and things of that nature as well.

Also on top of that, the Germans are saying that, above a certain infection rate, things like discos and bars will also be shut down in the areas where

those high infection rates exist.

The German government is saying, this is Angela Merkel and her designated successor -- of course, we have a new incoming government here in the next

couple of days. They are saying they want more people to get vaccinated.

Also put forward a really ambitious plan as well, because one of the ways they want to come to terms with the latest massive wave of infections is

more vaccines and more booster shots.

They want to administer up to 30 million shots, boosters and first vaccinations, before the end of the year.

And finally, Becky, this is something very important and certainly a big change in tone among German politicians, both Angela Merkel and her

successor were saying that they are open and in favor of mandatory vaccinations, a touchy subject here in this country.

They say they want the German government to draft a law. They want the ethics committee of the German parliament to then talk about and give

recommendations and there could be a vote and mandatory vaccinations here in this country, come February. So we're certainly seeing a big change in

tone here in this country.


PLEITGEN: And certainly a big -- I wouldn't call it a crackdown; but certainly, a lockdown if you will, for unvaccinated people.

ANDERSON: Let's remind ourselves, Germany already going through a very severe wave of COVID, before this Omicron variant appeared, correct?

PLEITGEN: Yes, you're absolutely right. It is one of the things that we have seen as well. It is not only a wave of massive coronavirus infections.

I just checked the numbers for today, it's 73,000 new infections in the span of 24 hours, a little bit less than the same day last week but

certainly well above anything you would have seen at the same time of last year, when we were already going through a big wave of infections here in


And one thing that is really concerning for the authorities here and certainly for the healthcare sector here is that ICUs are filling up as

well. The beginning of this week, I was in one ICU outside of Berlin. They only had one vacant ICU bed left. And the ICUs are certainly filling up.

And there is a concern, despite the fact this country has a very robust healthcare sector, that it could be overwhelmed if the trend continues,

especially in the hardest hit areas here in the country. There are already military medical evacuations going on from certain places, to make sure

there is still ICU capacity.

ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen in Berlin for you.

David, let's get to you, governments taking precautionary measures around the world, some of them pretty controversial.

Meantime, do we know any more about just how deadly and/or transmissible the Omicron variant is?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, these are complicated issues. But there is some sense, at this point, that it might be more transmissible.

That's at least what experts are saying.

If you look at the average percentage of the population that is infected with COVID-19 here in South Africa, you can see that very sharp rise in

mid-November, up until now, where we are sitting on a -- approaching very high levels of cases, positive cases a day, particularly here in this

province, in Gauteng, in the center of the country.

Now where it goes from here, it is unclear. There was an important briefing from top scientists at the World Health Organization. Now one big question

is whether Omicron can reinfect people already who have had COVID with a previous variant. Here is the sense from this microbiologist.


ANNE VON GOTTBERG, SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES: After the first positive test, we monitored these reinfections

for the Beta and for the Delta wave.

And we didn't see an increase in reinfections over and above what we expect when the force of infection changes, when the wave starts. However, we are

seeing an increase for Omicron.


MCKENZIE: And now that means that the troubling news is that there could be some level of increased reinfection. But the good news is that it

doesn't appear that those are serious cases, as you might expect with this kind of virus.

Also, most of the people in hospital -- and the numbers are rising but not too rapidly -- are the unvaccinated. And as Fred was saying, in central

Europe, it is the same message here in South Africa, where there are plenty of vaccines and even lower vaccination numbers, that people need to get


You can see already these tentative signs that it is an unvaccinated population, younger people, even preteens and children, who are getting

this relatively seriously. And those who are vaccinated, at least at this point, appear to have some level of protection against Omicron.

ANDERSON: David is in Johannesburg for you.

Ivan, to you.

What are the biggest concerns in the Asia region?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can still probably count the number of confirmed Omicron cases here in Asia. It is

less than 2 dozen right now. But it is spreading.

For instance, India just announced that there have been two confirmed cases in the southern state of Karnataka and they're doing contact tracing of

secondary and tertiary contacts.

In those cases, there are two males who traveled into the region; their itineraries have not been announced. A lot of countries in the region have

already severely restricted travel from a number of southern African countries.

We have seen some kind of waffling coming out, as governments struggle to deal with the new challenge. Japan, for example, after just 24 hours after

its government requested international airlines to suspend all international flight reservations to Japan --


WATSON: -- the prime minister reversed that decision, saying that the Japanese citizens do need to be allowed to come back into Japan. That's one

example of how some governments are trying to deal with this.

South Korea, which has also detected at least five Omicron cases, it has also, separate from that, continues to break records for new daily

infections for the second day in a row, also suffering 47 deaths due to COVID19 on Wednesday.

Here in Hong Kong, which also detected some four cases from travelers coming in and has a very strict quarantine regime, it has just added a

number of countries to its high-risk list of countries, where people will not be allowed to fly into Hong Kong if they have been there in the last 21


And they include Finland, Ghana, South Korea, Norway and Saudi Arabia. Governments in this region facing this new challenge and taking it very


ANDERSON: Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong for you. Let's connect you with more news from Asia.

Thanks, guys.

Mass testing underway in China's Inner Mongolia region. More than 150 COVID cases were recorded there recently. CNN's David Culver takes a look at how

China is preparing for the latest threat, this being Omicron, just ahead of the Winter Olympics.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two months before the start of the Winter Olympic Games, a new COVID variant is

surfacing globally, but Beijing is hoping its strict COVID defenses will keep Omicron away. It won't be easy.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: I do think it is cause for concern. This is the last thing that organizers would want. This is just not the big

question mark that anyone would want at this moment.

CULVER (voice-over): While the new variant has not yet been reported within Mainland China there are several confirmed cases in neighboring Hong


A Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying that the Omicron variant will pose some challenges but they're confident the Winter Olympics will be held

smoothly and successfully as scheduled.

China already has some of the toughest containment measures in place. Mass testing by the tens of millions, strict digital contact tracing and

targeted community lockdowns all part of our daily lives here.

CULVER (on camera): This is as close as we can get to some of the iconic Olympic structures from 2008, repurposed for the Winter Olympics but now

sealed off in a COVID bubble of sorts.

CULVER (voice-over): On top of the health concerns, growing calls for Olympic boycotts as Beijing continues to deny widespread allegations of

human rights abuses.

The Women's Tennis Association suspending tournaments within China as it reiterates calls for Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai to be able to speak

freely and openly. Peng briefly disappeared last month after she accused a top Communist Party official of forcing her into sex.

SIMON CHADWICK, DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR THE EURASIAN SPORT INDUSTRY: We are now in the early stages of what I think is a full-scale ideological battle

that ultimately could culminate in the United States and other Western nations engaging in a full boycott of the Beijing Winter Games in 2022.

CULVER (on camera): But it seems here within China most folks are unaware of the controversy surrounding these Olympic Games. Instead, you've got

stores like this filled with Olympic merchandise.

CULVER (voice-over): And folks here shopping, seemingly filled with a lot of excitement and joy -- even national pride.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are very excited. Beijing just hosted the 2008 Olympic Games and now it's the Winter Games again.

This is truly accelerating.

CULVER (voice-over): Even with mounting uncertainties, much like 2008, China is expected to put on a spectacular show. The question is will folks

watching from the outside be wowed or see it all as a fancy facade covering up an increasingly authoritarian state? -- David Culver, CNN, Beijing


ANDERSON: Well, David just mentioned the World (sic) Tennis Association suspending tournaments in China. Well, now Chinese officials are

responding, saying the country, and I quote them here, "firmly opposes any act that politicizes sports."

And caught in the middle, athletes like Peng Shuai. Will Ripley looks at the fallout from the WTA's decision.



PENG SHUAI, CHINESE TENNIS STAR (through translator): I shouldn't have come into this world but I don't have the courage to die.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The painful words of Peng Shuai, Chinese tennis star, three-time Olympian, sexual assault accuser.

PENG (through translator): Why did you have to come back to me, take me to your home, to force me to have sex with you?

I couldn't describe how disgusted I was.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Those allegations against a retired senior Communist Party leader made one month ago on Chinese social media.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Censored by the government, erased in less than 30 minutes.

The Women's Tennis Association suspending a lucrative 10-year deal in China and Hong Kong, demanding a full investigation and direct communication with


STEVE SIMON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, WOMEN'S TENNIS ASSOCIATION: We are planning to suspend our events until such time that the Chinese authorities do the

appropriate thing.

RIPLEY (voice-over): The head of the WTA telling CNN, China's leaders left him no choice.

SIMON: I can only imagine the range of emotions and feelings that are likely going through Peng right now.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Two emails to the WTA supposedly from Peng walked back her accusations. The WTA not buying it, not backing down.

SOPHIE RICHARDSON, CHINA DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The WTA has really turned in an exemplary performance, essentially saying that her well-being

is more important than business.

RIPLEY (voice-over): The WTA's strong response in stark contrast to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC released this single photo of its

video call with Peng last month, an attempt to calm the controversy. The Beijing Winter Games right around the corner.


RIPLEY (voice-over): The IOC's longest serving member telling CNN, that call alone is proof enough that she's OK.

POUND: She's fine and she's not under any kind of coercion or confinement.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Chinese state media ignoring the story inside their country. Outside, tweeting updates and videos of Peng. Videos activists say

are almost certainly staged, aimed at a foreign audience to repair China's reputation ahead of the games.

One high-profile state propagandist tweeting, "The WTA is coercing Peng Shuai to support the West's attack."

China's "Global Times" tweeting, "The WTA's decision was based on fictitious information."

The foreign ministry in Beijing says China has always been firmly opposed any act that politicizes sports.

Some of the world's most famous athletes praising the WTA for not staying silent.

Who is staying silent about Peng?

Olympic partner sponsors.

RICK BURTON, PROFESSOR OF SPORT MANAGEMENT, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: And they are aware that taking a stance against an individual from China or against

the country itself can have damaging repercussions.

RIPLEY (voice-over): With billions of dollars at stake --

PENG (through translator): I feel like a walking corpse.

RIPLEY (voice-over): -- Peng Shuai's call for help goes largely unanswered -- Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Well, a high stakes talk taking place in Sweden today. And Ukraine's fate could hang in the balance. What the U.S. is warning Russia

if it pursues military confrontation with Kiev.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has started new uranium enrichment. How that's going to play out in the current Vienna

negotiations. I speak live to the agency's director general.

Then if you build it, they will come. Well, they have and so have we; to the UAE's pavilion, that is. As the nation celebrates its Golden Jubilee,

hear how one visionary paved the way for decades of success. That's coming next.





ANDERSON: Well, welcome back. We're live here at Expo 2020 Dubai, the World Expo here. And the UAE commemorating its 50th anniversary, with the

world watching. At the heart of this site, behind me, sits the UAE pavilion, showcasing the country's story over the past five decades.

I caught up with the commissioner general, the Minister of Culture and Youth here, Noura Al Kaabi, who envisioned a pavilion which captures the

story of the UAE and its people through the prism of its past. Have a look.


NOURA AL KAABI, UAE MINISTER OF CULTURE AND YOUTH: The vision here is a dream. We're in the desert of dreams and we call it the desert of dreams as

-- because our ancestors and our founding father dreamt of the desert.

And you see the desert in images and sometimes documentaries.

And you feel is there life?

They lived in the desert. They thrived in the desert and they dreamt in the desert.

Can you hear his voice?

This is the first voice that we play, the moment you start with your journey in the pavilion. We wanted this to be the first voice that the

people listened to. He's our first dreamer, he's the founding father, Sheikh Zayed.

For us, he's, you know, he's the father. He's the father of our dream. More than 50 years ago, Sheikh Zayed took Abu Dhabi pavilion to Osaka Expo.

That's before the unification of the country.

Today his country is hosting the world. The legacy is being honored and lived through the people of the UAE, whether they're from the UAE or in the

UAE since the day it was born.

It is through the eyes of people, through their actions, through what we see and milestones that we're achieving every day. When you trace it,

Becky, you trace it back to our founding father.

ANDERSON (voice-over): This idea of the late Sheikh Zayed as a dreamer is a common theme running through the pavilion. And in designing it, Noura

wanted visitors to really understand Zayed's legacy as the visionary responsible for bringing together the country five decades ago.

AL KAABI: Here, Becky, this is the first kind of element of showing the -- our first dreamer, Sheikh Zayed, with the founding fathers pointing out and

other images drawing on the sand, which is -- we're surrounded by it here.

Planting and, from here, this is when he called for the world to build the country with him.

This is the story of unity. The sounds raise up, the lights gather, the more people in this circle to show our guests that unity is strong, it is

loud. And he says it, he says it in his own words, where, for him, it is the -- is the way of strength.

ANDERSON (voice-over): By juxtaposing the UAE's past, moving through its present and looking into the future, the pavilion also pays particular

homage to the unsung heroes that make up the fabric of the Emirates, the dreamers who do.

And the idea is that this pavilion reflects the stories of the 200 nationalities that call the UAE home. And for Noura, an Emirati woman, who

grew up here after the nation was born, that diversity is the cornerstone of the UAE's story.

AL KAABI: Our story is way beyond the skyscrapers. It is this. It is those people who are living the dream with us.

And there is a story, Becky, about Sheikh Zayed. When he was in the desert, he used to stand in the desert and say there is a hospital, there is a


And his friends say, but, Zayed, it is a desert. This is Zayed's desert. He saw the desert but he saw the future. So in this immersive experience, the

more people stand in front of the desert, it reflects the future.



ANDERSON: Noura Al Kaabi speaking to me there.

And later, my discussion with Ambassador Omar Ghobash. What he told me about the country's evolving role in this region. That's in the next hour


In other news we are following, the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell continues today in the U.S. after some dramatic testimony from an

accuser. She is one of several alleged victims who said that they were preyed upon by Maxwell and her friend, Jeffrey Epstein.

The witness broke down on the stand on Wednesday when she was asked about money she received from the Epstein victim compensation fund, saying,

sometimes it is the only thing victims can get to move their lives on.

The woman says she was 14 years old when Jeffrey Epstein began sexually abusing her and testified that Maxwell would sometimes join in. The British

socialite is charged with six federal crimes, including the sex trafficking of minors. She has pled not guilty and says she's being used as a scapegoat

for Epstein's crimes.

Actor Alec Baldwin says -- well, now says he did not pull the trigger of the gun on the movie set "Rust" that killed crew member Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin made the claim while speaking with ABC News, his first interview since the tragic shooting. He became emotional as he spoke about Halyna




GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST (voice-over): It wasn't in the script for the trigger to be pulled.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR (voice-over): Well, the trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger.

STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): So you never pulled the trigger?

BALDWIN (voice-over): No, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger (INAUDIBLE).

She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with and liked by everyone who worked with and admired.


ANDERSON: An attorney for prop master Sarah Zachry denies that she handled or loaded the gun that went off while Baldwin was holding it. (INAUDIBLE)

says only two people on the set were responsible for Baldwin's gun and ammo and Zachry wasn't one of them.

Right. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live tonight from Expo 2020 Dubai. After the break, negotiators have been

meeting this week in Vienna to try to find common ground on Iran's nuclear program.

Will it get anywhere?

What the U.N.'s nuclear monitoring group has to say about that.

Plus handshakes and smiles but also a firm warning. The United States telling Russia there will be, quote, "serious consequences" if it invades

Ukraine. Details on that are coming up.





ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Dubai. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on a special day for the United Arab Emirates,

celebrating its 50th anniversary.

In a few minutes, the Golden Jubilee show will start. And you may hear the sounds of the performance behind me, which is a theatrical journey, telling

the story of this nation. There will be firework displays before the end of this hour and you'll see some of those live here.

For now, let's return to the news. The U.S. making clear to Russia that there will be, quote, "serious consequences" if it invades Ukraine. U.S.

secretary of state Antony Blinken has been meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Sweden today.

Those talks happening amid deepening tensions over Russia's increased military presence near its border with Ukraine. Blinken reiterated that the

U.S. has an ironclad commitment to Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States and our allies and partners are deeply concerned by evidence that Russia has made plans

for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine, including efforts to destabilize Ukraine from within and large-scale military operations.

We have seen this playbook before in 2014, when Russia last invaded Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, that's Antony Blinken speaking earlier. CNN's Alex Marquardt is in Stockholm in Sweden, where the secretary of state just


We're learning that the U.S., Russian and Ukrainian diplomats verbally clashed behind closed doors today.

What can you tell us?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, this incident happened at a meeting, a dinner last night, as this summit got

underway at the OSCE.

Apparently the foreign minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, accused Ukraine's foreign minister of violations that that country has done in the eastern

part of the country. Secretary of state Antony Blinken then joined in and apparently set the record straight.

And as one source said it, "put Lavrov in his place."

This, of course, as you might imagine, is being denied by the Russian foreign ministry. But this has been a rather dramatic series of days, both

in Latvia for that NATO summit, Becky, as well as here.

Today, when Blinken and Lavrov sat down with each other, they -- the goal of the U.S. was to let Russia know that there would be serious

consequences, should they choose to invade Ukraine.

They came out of this short meeting, just about 30 minutes long, with no real concrete agreement on how to de-escalate the situation nor did

Blinken, we're told, lay out explicitly what those serious consequences would be.

Blinken said they would include what he called high impact economic measures that have never before been used by the United States against


But the path forward, according to both sides, is going to be more diplomatic talks, "intense diplomacy," in the words of one senior State

Department official. Russia, for its part, says that they are acting in self-defense, that their security is threatened when they see this

eastwards march by NATO.

Now Ukraine of course is not part of NATO. But they certainly have the political and the military support of the NATO countries. So this -- the

tension is still extremely high; Secretary Blinken says it is not clear whether Russia has plans or has decided, rather, whether it will invade

Ukraine but that it has put in place the capacity to do so in short order.

The wish by the U.S. and NATO is very much to de-escalate this diplomatically. But we are certainly not there yet -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Alex, thank you for that.

Well, negotiations -- or negotiators from Iran and major world powers gather in Vienna this week to once again try to resolve the standoff over

Iran's nuclear program.

Sound like deja vu?

I don't blame you, we have seen this diplomatic dance many times before. And we are quite familiar with both sides of the argument. Just remind you

the U.S. and its allies say Iran must stop stockpiling enriched uranium, a key component needed for any potential weapon, and stop using advanced

centrifuges in sites U.N. inspectors don't have access to.

Iran, on the other hand, maintains its program is peaceful, that it has a right to enrich uranium under international law and that it isn't to blame

for the current state of affairs.


ANDERSON: It was, after all, the Trump administration that killed the deal, pulled the U.S. out of the deal, which was actually giving U.N.

inspectors access to Iran's nuclear sites.

Well, Tehran wants some assurances, too, that the U.S. wouldn't leave the deal again as well as the lifting of crippling sanctions.

Well, caught in the middle of all this, those U.N. nuclear inspectors, also known as the IAEA. Rafael Grossi, the head of that agency, visited Iran's

chief negotiator in Vienna today. Director general Grossi joining me live from Vienna.

Good to have you, sir.

What came out of those discussions today with Iran's chief negotiator in Vienna?

RAFAEL MARIANO GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: Good to see you. Well, I saw the chief Iranian negotiator, as you said, Dr. Bagheri. And, of course,

it was a good occasion for us, as you were mentioning.

I was in Iran just a few days ago for a series of meetings with the new government, meetings that I described as inconclusive. So we were trying to

evaluate, to exchange our respective assessments of why these talks were inconclusive but what we could do together to make it conclusive.

And, of course, at the same time there is the issue of the current process of JCPOA negotiations, the seventh round of discussions that has started

this week, here in Vienna, where the agency is very present although perhaps not at the negotiating table because we're not a party to the


But we are the inspector, the guarantor of that agreement. So we are very close to the negotiation and to the negotiators so they talk to us all the

time. So that was also part of those discussions (ph).

ANDERSON: All right. So you are trying to get to a point where you can get some sort of conclusive talks going, as I understand it.

Your latest report, meantime, suggests Iran has started additional enrichment activities, using advanced centrifuges at the Fordo plant.

Iranian officials have downplayed the importance of these findings.

I want to find out from you, how alarmed are you by Iran's actions?

GROSSI: I am not alarmed by the actions themselves, the actions themselves. What I am alarmed is by the fact that we are not getting the

kind of access we need to every place where we need to be.

The actions in themselves -- and I think in your introduction you were referring to the -- the enrichment in itself and whether it is legal or

illegal. It is of course within the sovereign decision of a country, whether it wants to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

But the other side of the coin, to that right, is your obligation to provide access to inspectors, so we can tell the international community

that there is no problem with that activity, that there is no diversion of material.



So are they providing that?

GROSSI: They are not providing --


GROSSI: -- the full access that we need. They are not providing the access to all the places where we would need to be. They are providing access,

yes, to a certain extent.

But we continue to have -- and this refers back to what you and I were discussing just now about my inconclusive negotiations in Tehran a few days

ago because the issue there was that we would like to restore some monitoring and capacities that we used to have.


GROSSI: And we're not able to do that.

ANDERSON: So Iran is effectively advancing their program, while also negotiating in Vienna. Look, the original deal didn't allow Iran to enrich

uranium at Fordo at all. I understand that, you know, the deal has been broken.

But how can you frame this in any other way than Iran's actions undercutting these current talks?

GROSSI: Well, this is maybe for -- what you're asking me is an evaluation of the political consequences of what they're doing. So this question is

more for the negotiators of the JCPOA. What I can tell you -- and I tell it with the same clarity to Iran.


GROSSI: Listen, people, you want to do this, you have to give access. And you have to work with us.

And with my discussions with Mr. Bagheri, he was confirming that they have this willingness to give us access. But still, we have areas where we are

not agreeing -- and this is why I keep pushing and I keep trying to get to a place where I will be able to provide the clarity, the information, that

the negotiators themselves need.

How are you going to get back into an agreement if you don't know exactly what is going on?

Very simple.

ANDERSON: Let me put this to you, Israel this week says that they have intelligence that Iran has uranium enriched to 90 percent.

Does your agency have an indication that that is true?

GROSSI: Not at all. We don't have that information. And let me remind you, and I don't know, I'm not disqualifying Israel or any other country here.

When it comes to what happens in Iran, what counts is what Iran does and what the IAEA checks or inspects. And we are inspecting every place where

they are enriching uranium and they are enriching 5, 20, 60 but not at 90, that I can tell you.

ANDERSON: You just returned from Tehran last week. And you tried to gain access to a centrifuge parts factory in Karaj, as I understand it, west of

Tehran. That site was sabotaged in June. And the Iranians blame Israel for that.

What can you tell us about the circumstances surrounding the Karaj facility?

GROSSI: Well, this is a very important facility. It is important for the point you are raising there because this facility is a facility which is

not involved in enrichment of uranium.

But it is involved in anything that you need to enrich uranium, which is basically the centrifuges.

And in this plant, they are putting together, they are fabricating the rudders, the tubes, other parts, detached parts that you need to assemble,

to make the centrifuges, and, in particular, the new generation centrifuges that are far more effective -- efficient, should I say, maybe -- than the

previous ones, which means that the amounts are going to be higher, much higher perhaps.

And so the amount of uranium and the fissile material that they have at their disposal is growing at a very, very steady pace. We used to have

cameras there.


ANDERSON: And why is it that Iran is dragging its feet?

Is this leverage in negotiations, in your assessment?

GROSSI: My impression is that, whatever the motivation is, it should stop because, as I'm saying, in order for these negotiations to proceed

smoothly, we, the IAEA, have to be able to tell everybody that we are seeing what is going on and there is no reason to be alarmed, if you want.

So, for me, it is a no-brainer. If you want stability in your process, whichever side of the table you are sitting at, you really need that. That

is indispensable. And this is one of the things I was discussing with Dr. Bagheri today in my office.

ANDERSON: At what point will the continuity of knowledge, as it is known, at the Karaj factory be broken and the IAEA be unable to ascertain what

activities took place there?

GROSSI: It is already seriously compromised. I have said it. It is already seriously compromised.


Because it is like a power cut.

You have a blackout, right?

So you can, for some time, reconstruct what may be happening there on the basis of the previous knowledge and the basis of some projections of what

may be happening there.

But as time passes and days become weeks and weeks become months, then, in all honesty, as that inspector, I cannot say, well, there is no problem. I

was absent from this place for six months.

And then I was flagged in again. And whatever I see, I should take at face value without having a real knowledge, a sense of what may have been

happening, what may have been produced in that place for so long.


GROSSI: So the other message I'm having is that this cannot continue for too long.

ANDERSON: Finally and very briefly, you say you obviously haven't got a seat at the table but you're in Vienna and you speak to the negotiators.

Antony Blinken today has said that there is not a -- and I quote him here - - "cause for optimism" with the Iran nuclear talks.

Do you share his concern?

GROSSI: I believe that we have to continue in our efforts and that, in my case, as head of the IAEA, I will not cease until I get the access for my

inspectors that I need. Then there will be time for optimism or pessimism or whatever it is.

But from my perspective, I understand the political perspective of nations. I have a technical job to do. And I have not been able to do it to the

full. So let's hope that my conversations today and in the coming days will lead to this place. And when we get this stability, I think perhaps there

will be more grounds for optimism.

ANDERSON: With that, Mr. Grossi, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much very much indeed for joining us today, an enlightening


GROSSI: It was my pleasure.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

GROSSI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

Let's get you up to speed on the other stories on our radar right now.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are sticking to their plans to increase oil supply in January. OPEC+ oil producers reached that agreement at a virtual

meeting, despite a recent plunge in prices.

This comes a week after the U.S., China and other countries released oil reserves to counter high prices.

Turkey is replacing its finance minister for the third time this year. The former businessman who'd been the deputy finance minister is now taking the

job after Lutfi Elvan resigned. This comes after weeks of economic turmoil, rising inflation and the nation's currency losing value.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has scored a big win in her legal case against a major British tabloid publisher. A U.K. court dismissed an appeal

by Associate Newspapers Limited after a previous ruling said she had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Meghan sued after "The Mail on Sunday"

published portions of a letter she wrote to her father in 2018.

Well, as we have been discussing, while Iran negotiates its nuclear program, it is in a conflict on a different front. Cyber attacks with

Israel now reportedly targeting civilians. We go inside Israel's cyber war room -- just ahead.





ANDERSON: Let's get you more now on those talks on reviving a nuclear deal for Iran. Moments ago, you heard from the U.N. nuclear chief his agency

found Tehran is stepping up efforts to enrich uranium at one site.

And he says he isn't getting the sort of access he needs across the board.

Because of that, Israel's prime minister Naftali Bennett says the U.S. should stop the talks in Vienna.

Meantime, "The New York Times" suggests the cyber war between Israel and Iran is now affecting civilians in both countries. CNN's Hadas Gold got an

inside view of Israel's cybersecurity efforts and she connects us now live from Jerusalem.

Both Iran and Israel are said to be going after soft targets now that affect civilians.

What do we mean by that?

What can you tell us about that?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We got an inside look, exclusive interview with Israel's civilian cyber defense chief Igal Unna,

to see how they defend themselves from what he says are an increasing number of cyberattacks.

We learned that hacking attempts have exploded since COVID started, when everyone began working remotely, and that cyber espionage is actually going

down, compared to things like ransomware attacks and other cyberattacks.

As you noted, increasingly even state-backed hacks and criminal attacks, including those linked to Iran, are starting to target civilian

infrastructure. These are soft targets, like hospitals, even water systems -- for example, like the type of chemicals in the water systems -- and also

even dating websites. Take a look.



GOLD (voice-over): In a nondescript office park in the town of Be'er Sheva, a 24/7 war room monitors the constant attempts to hack Israel's

critical civilian infrastructure. Though they sit in a bombproof room, these maps aren't showing missiles; instead, they're tracking real time


IGAL UNNA, ISRAEL NATIONAL CYBER DIRECTORATE: It is not just the day to day. It is an hourly or minute basis.

GOLD (voice-over): Igal Unna leads the Israel National Cyber Directorate, working hand in hand with Israel's security services to fend off

cyberattacks from state sponsors and criminal entities.

UNNA: We witness attacks everywhere. Last 1.5 years, even before that, it is like the world went crazy.

GOLD (voice-over): Some attacks, though, more consequential than others. In 2020, the team spotted an attack on Israel's water system, which a

senior Israeli sector official says was the work of Iran. Iranian-linked criminal hacking group Black Shadow also reportedly behind recent attacks

on an Israeli hospital and an Israeli LGBTQ dating site.

"The New York Times" reporting Israel has been striking back, with a cyberattack that crippled Iranian gas stations for days.

UNNA: Today's threats are really less important, who is the flags or who is behind it. Of course, we are -- at the end we know everyone who is

behind it. And we remember and we can get even.

GOLD: How do you get even with them?

UNNA: In our special measures and means.

GOLD: Like attacks on gas stations?

UNNA: Well, Israel has all the tools and all the advantages in -- not just in cyber but in all aspects we can use when we want to use it, when it is


GOLD (voice-over): Criminal hackers, whether state-backed or not, make up the majority of the cyberattacks on Israeli civilian life, including the

one on the hospital, causing them to cancel nonurgent procedures for at least two weeks.

UNNA: Most of it comes from criminal elements and from individuals trying to find if there is a criminal prospect in there, that -- the vast majority

of percentages come from there. There is no doubt because there is good money in that, unfortunately.

GOLD (voice-over): Attackers often mask their locations, launching their assaults from around the world.

UNNA: This case is probably more victims from the same threat actors or the same attack, also detected in the U.S. We translate that to alerts, to

info sharing in mails (ph) and to our colleagues in Japan and the U.S.

GOLD (voice-over): The need for international cooperation, Unna says, is necessary for survival.

GOLD: Will there at some point do you think be a cyber NATO?

UNNA: I think it is inevitable. And it will take less -- much shorter than you would imagine.

GOLD (voice-over): Every day, a constant race to stay one step ahead. But for now, a quiet sense of confidence.

UNNA: The stakes are getting higher and higher. The bets are getting crazy. But we don't feel for one second that we don't have the upper hand.

We still -- we don't have any other choice in Israel.



GOLD: And Becky, even though he expresses confidence that they'll always stay one step ahead, he did say it is getting increasingly harder and

harder to do so -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Hadas Gold in Jerusalem for you.

It's 5 to 6:00 in the evening, 5 to 8:00 here in the UAE. From the birth of a nation half a century ago to one of the richest per capita in the world,

the UAE is celebrating the big 5-0 today. I'll show you why it is going to be all eyes on the sky above us here in Dubai in just a few minutes' time.




ANDERSON: Well, pyrotechnics and plaudits as the UAE celebrates its Golden Jubilee, a country that describes itself as the land of dreamers who do.

And it has been doing the business for half a century.

So it is giving itself a well-earned ovation as it launches that firework display. Let me tell you, there are lots and lots and lots of Emirati kids

and young UAE residents below me here at the Expo, who are really, really enjoying this. They do fireworks well here.

We'll see you in a few minutes with more CONNECT THE WORLD from Dubai 2020, here at the Expo.