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Muqtada Al Sadr: The Spilling of Iraqi Blood is Forbidden; U.N. Chief: Climate Change Created "Monsoon on Steroids"; EU Ministers Considering Visa Ban for Russian Tourists; Iraqi Cleric to Supporters: Lay Down Arms; Lapid: Israel will not Accept Revived Deal; Timing Uncertain for next Artemis I Launch Attempt. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired August 30, 2022 - 11:00:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos in for Becky Anderson. An apology and a blunt

warning; words from a powerful Iraqi cleric seeming to put an end to deadly protests in and around Baghdad's green zone and you can see the difference

on your screen before and after Muqtada Al Sadr's nationally televised speech.

Protesters moving out of the green zone after Al Sadr warned them they would be denounced if they didn't lay down their arms and leave. He also

apologizes for the spilling of Iraqi blood before that's at least 21 people killed and 250 injured.

When Al Sadr protesters stormed the palace where Iraq's cabinet meets sparked by his announcement Monday he was retiring from political life, his

decision adding turmoil to Iraq's already uncertain political future.

Ben Wedeman who has spent years covering Iraq is with us today from Rome. Ben, we can see the stark difference. And here's the thing you had Al Sadr

saying earlier this week or just a couple of days ago, that he's leaving political life. And then you saw protesters, then he televised speech

saying you've got to move out of the green zone. It is incredible to see the influence he has on people on the streets, in Baghdad and Iraq as a


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, clearly, this is a man who has a considerable following. And with just a few words, he can

change this situation from what looked very precarious to very quickly life in Baghdad, returned to normal but you know, Eleni, you mentioned in the

introduction that for perhaps this speech, marked an end to something. But in Iraq, things never really end; the trouble just goes on, and on.


WEDEMAN (voice over): For almost 24 hours, parts of Baghdad slipped into what looked like some of its darkest days. Long, smoldering tensions broke

into protests and then violence sparked by the announcement by powerful Shia Leader Moqtada Sadr that he was withdrawing not for the first time

from politics.

Shortly afterwards, hundreds of supporters of his Sadr's movement, the biggest block in Iraq's parliament, broke into Baghdad's Green Zone, home

to the Iraqi parliament, government ministries and diplomatic missions including the U.S. Embassy.

Clashes with security forces soon followed more than 20 people were killed over 250 wounded. Iraq has been in limbo since last October's parliamentary

elections. The squabbling factions couldn't agree on a government. The politicians - to demands that the creaking infrastructure be repaired that

Iraq's huge oil wealth be better spent that ramp into official corruption be addressed.

If they have cotton in their ears, says Youssef, a protester. We asked for reforms. We asked them to back down they did nothing. Midday Tuesday, Al

Sadr addressed his followers on live television, he condemned the violence.

If supporters of his movement don't withdraw from Parliament within 60 minutes Sadr said, I will disavow the movement itself. Within minutes, they

began to leave. The guns went quiet. Within minutes, the Iraqi Army announced the end of the curfew in Baghdad.

Iraq's profound problems haven't been resolved. Its deep divisions haven't been bridged. Yet Tuesday the worst fears of nationwide bloodshed of

perhaps a civil war proceeding for now.


WEDEMAN: And of course, we don't know what was agreed upon behind closed doors; perhaps between Muqtada solder and other politicians Moqtada Sadr

has been calling for quite some time for the dissolution of parliament and early elections hoping to sort of reshuffle the political cards in Iraq all

over again.

But as I said, given the fact that Iraq's profound problems aren't being dealt with, there's no guarantee we won't see something like this all over

again or perhaps even worse Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes, Ben and really good point. You know, what was decided behind closed doors? I guess we'll know in the next few days. Always good to see

you, Ben Wedeman much appreciated.

Now, you may be thinking how could any conflict or conflict in Iraq impact me? One of the biggest possible ways energy Iraq is the second largest

crude oil producer in OPEC following Saudi Arabia. The U.S. government says it holds the world's fifth largest approved crude oil reserves and that's

about 8 percent of global reserves.


GIOKOS: Back in July, Iraqi state media reported oil output was set to pass four and a half million barrels a day. Now, for a world still scrambling

for alternative energy sources ahead of what could be a cold winter, it would serve many of us to have a stable Iraq.

More than 1000 people have now been killed by the historic flooding in Pakistan unusually heavy monsoon rains have been drenching the country for

weeks. Roads, crops, homes, bridges all washed away in some areas. Early estimates put the damage at $10 billion and tens of millions of people


Many have lost everything. The country's Prime Minister says a Flood Response Coordination Center is now being set up and humanitarian

assistance is pouring in from Canada, Australia, the UK and others. CNN's Anna Coren has more on the extent of the devastation.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The endless monsoon rains may have eased for now with the deluge across Pakistan has left carnage and

destruction on an unprecedented scale. Up to a third of the country could end up underwater.

Countless townships are already submerged, leaving millions of Pakistanis destitute and homeless. We are poor people says this woman. Our home was

destroyed. Our belongings disappeared in the big flood. Our children are waiting on the bank with no food, no shelter.

The government says the historic floods across Pakistan that have claimed the lives of more than 1100 people are estimated to have caused more than

$10 billion in damage. For a country that already received a bailout from the International Monetary Fund this calamity could push its fragile

economy to the brink.

AHSAN IQBAL, PAKISTANI PLANNING MINISTER: Until water completely recedes they will not be able to go and physically do the survey. But my hunch is

that this figure is going to be two to three times higher than what we are estimating.

COREN (voice over): The Prime Minister has set up a national Flood Response and Coordination Center. And the military has been mobilized to help with

evacuations. 10 cities have sprung up and humanitarian aid is slowly trickling in, but it's a drop in the ocean considering the magnitude of

this climate change induced catastrophe.


I have been in the Red Cross Red Crescent for the last 29 years I haven't seen anything like this. It is a serious situation. Pakistan is in dire

need and the damages are here and we will be in this for a long time. It's not months but years that we're talking about.

COREN (voice over): A timeframe unfathomable to these desperate people whose only priority right now is survival. Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


GIOKOS: Well, the Head of the United Nations says we are sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet. Antonio Guterres blaming climate

change for what he calls a monsoon on steroids in Pakistan.

The UN is now issuing an appeal for $160 million to help the country as Pakistani officials asked for more help with relief efforts. Pakistan's

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is now with us, sir, really good to see you. Thank you so much for taking the time.

And I want our viewers to understand the scale of the impact here from our understanding; over 33 million people have been affected. And when I look

at the devastating numbers in terms of the deaths, a third of those are children as the death toll rises, could you describe the situation on the

ground right now and whether you have enough resources to deal with the immediate aftermath.

BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER: Thank you so much for having me in covering this important story. I find it very difficult to put

into words the scale of this human tragedy. I've been in northern sand for the past more than a week during the ongoing monsoons and, and flooding and

I have witnessed with my own eyes, the displacement of villages and towns and the inundation of flood water everywhere.

There's barely any dry, dry line that we can find the scale of this tragedy, as you mentioned, 33 million people. That's more than the

population of Sri Lanka or Australia. A third of our country is underwater. 70 odd districts have been declared calamity hit and the catastrophe is

still ongoing. The floodwaters that have gathered in the province of Sindh still have to make their way to the Indus which would include flooding and

devastation for more towns and cities and villages on the way from up north in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


BHUTTO-ZARDARI: We're seeing heavy flooding in the river system now, which also has to come down the Indus and affect the southern areas of the


As this climate catastrophe continues, and the water that is gathered stagnates, we also have to brace ourselves for waterborne diseases and

illnesses that again will affect the most vulnerable, the sick, the old and the children.

GIOKOS: Honestly, the images that we're seeing are really difficult to watch. And we heard from the UN Chief Gutierrez saying that this monsoon is

on steroids. What is your response to that he's calling for money for more money and assistance to Pakistan? But what is your response to those


BHUTTO-ZARDARI: So we just launched a joint flash appeal with the United Nations where the United Nations Secretary General made the appeal you're

referring to. And this is a monsoon on steroids.

In 2010, when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited us during the 2010 floods, which was the largest in our history up until now. He called it a

slow motion tsunami. And this tsunami is hitting us in waves; we had a flood from the sky from the ongoing monsoons.

And now we have the threat of a flood from our rivers going forward. The scale of this strategy is what's making it so difficult and stretching our

resources and capacity to cope with so many different areas affected all at once.

It's really stretching our resources, our relief. Even our human resources capacity, our infrastructures also has been heavily damaged, which is also

affecting connectivity and our supply of relief goods is just not meeting the demand.

We can't provide as many tenses we need to we're desperately trying to get as many times as we possibly can. And then obviously, food, clean drinking

water medication, these are all our priorities. Everybody in Pakistan is working around. GIOKOS: Minister, I have to ask you, I mean, IMF is issuing

a $1.5 billion loan, you're highly indebted, you're taking out more loans. The monsoon season, as we've ascertained, is probably going to be a reality

more aggressive cycles in the next few years.

I guess the question is because we've seen a mismanagement of funds in the past, how are you going to ensure that the funds that are coming your way

are going to be spent on trying to rebuild the country in a time where this is probably going to be a very stark reality facing Pakistan in the next

few years?

BHUTTO-ZARDARI: As far as so reconstruction and rehabilitation will come later at the moment, we're still in the midst of an ongoing disaster. And

the phase that we're conducting right now is a rescue and relief.

Once we get through our rescue and relief phase, the immediate danger, then we'll work towards reconstruction and rehabilitation. And that has to not

only be done in a transparent manner, but we have to adapt to the new realities of climate change.

And while we understand that the new reality of climate change means more extreme weathers more extreme monsoons, more extreme heat waves, like we

saw earlier this year. The scale of this, this current flood is of apocalyptic proportions, and we certainly hope it's not a new climate


GIOKOS: Do you think that more responsibility needs to be taken by the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters? We have heard from many experts

saying that Pakistan and other countries are basically collateral damage from the most industrialized nations in the world.

And by the way they have committed but not make that commitment of funding of aid, especially to vulnerable nations. What is your response?

BHUTTO-ZARDARI: I think that, that's a very, very valid point that you've just made. Pakistan contributes less than 1 percent of the global carbon

footprint. But we are amongst the top 10 highly stressed countries from climate change.

We consistently see climate devastation in the forms of floods, monsoons, extensive droughts, extreme heat waves. And frankly, the people of

Pakistan, the citizens of Pakistan are paying the price in their lives and their livelihoods for the industrialization of rich countries that has

resulted in this climate change.

Now, we must work together for climate justice for all. But again, at this moment in time, we're focused on really on rescue and relief going forward,

we have to talk about reconstruction rehabilitation. And of course have a conversation about climate justice


GIOKOS: And lastly, I mean, we're talking about how long it's going to take you to sort of to get out of the sense of urgency you're dealing with right

now. What are your projections? What do you need right now to get through the next few weeks?

BHUTTO-ZARDARI: So, again, I'm emphasizing this, it's the waters are still coming, they're still causing their damage. We're still rescuing our

people, getting them to dry land, trying to provide them shelter, trying to provide them food, and medicines.

Going forward, then we look to as the water recedes, assessing the damage on the ground and coming up with a timescale plan of how we will recover.

It will take us a while. This is not something that's a question of weeks or months, it's going to be years to come.

GIOKOS: Minister, thank you for your time. I know you have a lot of work to do at the moment. We wish all the best. Thank you so much.


GIOKOS: All right, moving on. An urgent inspection of Europe's largest nuclear plants is one step closer to reality. As Ukraine says it's already

taking villagers back from the Russians and how Russia may be upping its game on the battlefield with help from Iran. What the White House is saying

about that, that's coming up just ahead.


GIOKOS: Ukraine is already claiming success as its counter offensive in the south begins. Official say forces have retaken four villages and broken

through Russian defenses at several points on the front line and that the Russians can't reinforce units across the Dnipro River in the Kherson area.

Our satellite images from Monday showing smoke rising from an explosion up river from Kherson on the locks. The Kremlin says Ukraine has taken heavy

losses in the counter offensive.

Meantime the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv and IAEA team is set to

visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the coming days.

This comes amid more shelling near the Russian health complex. Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the attacks. We're going to take you to all

sides of this conflict today. We start with Melissa in the Ukrainian Capitol, Melissa, great to see you. I mean look for villages retaken, give

me a sense of the morale of the Ukrainian army what you understand the next moves will be?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in some ways Eleni, their remaining fairly tight lipped for instance, announcing that over the course the next

week, it's going to be more difficult for civilian journalists to get access to those front lines.

This is clearly a counter offensive that is a subject of a great deal of hope. And that for the time being remains something that is extremely

delicate. Now we are hearing from Ukrainian military sources of their early successes not just as you mentioned those villages that were taken



BELL: But also today, the fact they say that the positions along the Dnipro River not just the bridges that had already been damaged, but they say the

pontoons, the ferries that Russians had been hoping to use to resupply their units with weaponry and extra manpower have been disabled by

Ukrainian efforts.

So that a significant development for Ukrainians and as they look to present this counter offensive on day two as being the success they'd

hoped. There is also here in Kyiv, the other story that we're following that is the IAEA inspection that was due to take place in Zaporizhzhia.

We understand we've seen pictures now if President Zelenskyy has been meeting with Rafael Grossi, the Head of that inspectors team here he was

hoping to get to Zaporizhzhia fairly quickly in order to inspect that plant.

What we've been hearing from the Ukrainian side is that the shelling that's been going on from around the plant and remember that this is a long

standing accusation of Kyiv backed up by American intelligence, that that Zaporizhzhia power plant is being used to hold not just weaponry, but being

used also to launch attacks and shelling, that that has continued.

And it is according to Ukrainian sources that shelling from the parch of Russians that is making it impossible for the IAEA to carry out its

inspection or indeed leave Kyiv to head to Zaporizhzhia.

Now, in the last hour, President Zelenskyy again, alongside Rafael Grossi has called for the Zaporizhzhia power plant to be demilitarized. It's a

long standing demand of the Ukrainians. But he says it is now necessary in order to allow the inspectors to go and carry out their duties, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Melissa, thank you so very much. Now Kremlin officials say Ukraine's counter offensive so far has been a miserable failure. They're

also accusing Ukraine of shelling near the nuclear plant, while saying they hope the IAEA inspectors will be able to move ahead with their mission.

Let's go now to CNN's Fred Pleitgen live for us in Moscow. Fred, very different comments from what we've seen from the Ukrainians. But what is

the Kremlin specifically saying about Ukraine's counter offensive operation?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right, Eleni. Certainly extremely different about one of the

things that the Kremlin is acknowledging is that there isn't offensive by the Ukrainians going on. One of the things the Russian Defense Ministry

said is that this was ordered directly by President Zelenskyy of Ukraine as they put it; however, the Russians claim that their forces are standing

their ground.

They say that this counter offensive was launched. But that the Ukrainians took heavy casualties from the Russians obviously fighting back. The

Russians claiming that they've killed over or put out of a commission over 1000 Ukrainian troops.

And that they've destroyed around 50 main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers as well and other vehicles. So the Russians are saying that the

Ukrainians are taking heavy losses, but at the same time, they are acknowledging that they are also being hit by the Ukrainians in a very

heavy way.

In fact, overnight, there's a town called Nova Kakhovka where the Russians say there was some extreme firing going on, on that town overnight that

there's no gas, electricity, or water working in that town anymore.

And the people who lived in that town had to be ordered to go into shelters. As far as Kherson itself is concerned, we of course, always have

to point out to the Ukrainian say for them; the main prize of this offensive is Kherson.

That's the only regional capital that the Russians were able to take an extremely important town there. The pro-Russian forces, and the people that

they've installed, are saying that Kherson is not going to be taken by the Ukrainians.

They say the Russian forces there are well entrenched even though you do have all the things of course that Melissa was just mentioning that the

bridges across the Dnieper River in that area seem to mostly if not all, have been taken out of commission, obviously a big issue for supplies for

resupplies for the Russians. Nevertheless, right now, they are saying that they're not only holding on, but standing their ground, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Fred, separately EU ministers are meeting today to consider a visa ban for Russian tourists amid other measures. How is Moscow responding to

these potential decisions?

PLEITGEN: I would say angrily is how Moscow is responding. They're saying that if something like this does come in place, that there's going to be a

response, it's going to be severe response coming from the Russians.

And I think one of the things that the Russians have found and this is the spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov is that there does seem to be a

bit of disunity within the European Union on this topic.

You of course have the Eastern European nations, a lot of which wants some pretty tough measures. They want pretty much a blanket visa ban for

Russians trying to come or trying to get visas to the European Union, whereas countries like Germany, they don't really want to go that far yet.

They say there have to be humanitarian exceptions. There have to be exceptions for people who are persecuted. And the Germans if you will are

pretty much in a camp on that topic together with the French and the Italians and some other nations within the European Union.


PLEITGEN: Again, the Russians are saying if something like that happens, there will be a response from the Russians that will be severe. And they

say that they're protecting the interests of their citizens, as they put it, but this is really a big topic here in Russia. And you know, as we can

see something the Kremlin is very prominently talking about.

GIOKOS: Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much. Now is Moscow getting a helping hand from Tehran? In its war on Ukraine, officials in the Biden White House

telling CNN, Russia now has weapons grade Iranian drones and they'll probably be deployed on the battlefield.

Observers say Moscow is looking to blunt the impact of powerful rocket systems sent by the U.S. and others to help Ukrainian forces. I want to

bring in CNN White House Reporter Natasha Bertrand live from Washington, DC for us. Natasha, no surprise that the Russians are buying drones from the


This is sort of weeks in the making, it brings to question firstly, is Russia running out of its own resources, and importantly, solidifying this

relationship between Iran and Russia?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Definitely, it definitely seems as though the Russians are running out of these weapons capable drones.

They have quite a few of the surveillance drones still in operation in Ukraine.

But what we have heard from U.S. officials is that because of sanctions, because of just the sheer nature of the conflict, of course, they have been

running out running low on these weapons capable drones.

They have had difficulty reproducing them, of course, in Russia itself, because of these export control measures that the West has put on Russia

that has limited their ability to create new technology. So they've looked to Iran now.

And over the last several months, they have been flirting with the possibility of purchasing them, the Russians started going over there in

June to look at different models of Iranian drones. And then in July, they actually started training on them inside Iran.

Well, now that has kicked up a gear even further, with the Russians actually sending cargo planes over to Iran, in mid-August, picking up the

drones and taking them back to Russia.

We're told that this is just one shipment out of potentially hundreds that the Russians might make to import those for use, of course, on the

Ukrainian Battlefield.

They have been trying to blunt the impact, as you said, of these systems of these missile systems that the West has provided to Ukraine that can reach

as far as 49 miles. And the use of these weapons capable drones could help them basically intercept these missiles and not have them launch behind

Russian frontline.

So this could be a potential game changer on the battlefield. However, important caveat here, the Americans are telling us that many of these

drones have already failed in tests that the Russians have carried out.

They have experienced numerous failures. So it's unclear how sophisticated and actually accurate and functional these drones will be when deployed on

the battlefield. However, it is, of course, a significant development that Russia is going to be deploying them at all, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes, absolutely. Natasha Bertrand, thank you so much. Crowds of protesters have withdrawn from the Green Zone in Baghdad. Now the question

remains what happens next for Iraq? Our next guest is there in Baghdad.

And a potential stumbling block to reviving the Iran nuclear deal. The concerns voiced by Iran's President and what Israel is saying about the

deal, I'll talk to Israel's UN Ambassador, stay with us.



GIOKOS: Some of the most violent protests the Iraqi Capital has seen in years have not come to an end. This comes after the powerful cleric Muqtada

al-Sadr had made a televised announcement urging his followers to withdraw from Baghdad's green zone within 60 minutes.

And as you can see here, the crowds of protesters, they listened. On Monday, hundreds of protesters stormed the Republican Palace after outsider

announced that he was withdrawing from politics. At least 21 people were killed 250 others were injured.

My next guest was close enough to hear the gunshots in the Baghdad violence. He tweeted; I wonder if the show of mussels despite the awful

casualty toll will be brief, tomorrow gives much to ponder on where this country is headed. Sajad Jiyad is a Baghdad based political analyst. And he

joins me now.

Thank you so much for joining us. You said you know tomorrow, much will be said about what the future holds for Iraq. It is now tomorrow, they have

withdrawn from the streets, it seems that the violence is for now over. Are you feeling hopeful?

SAJAD JIYAD, FELLOW, CENTURY FOUNDATION: Well, maybe not hopeful, but a huge sigh of relief that the violence has come to an end; we had a long

sleepless night. You can hear rockets exploding gunfire; some of it was very close.

I think most of the people in around Central Baghdad would not have been able to get to sleep and reminded them of previous wars. That's how bad

some of the violence was.

And today when we see these demonstrators, if you can call them but actually they're just miniature men pulling back I think people worried

about what could happen next. Not so much hopeful about where we could go.

But can we stop ourselves from falling further into this? Can we get the political class to take the country seriously, rather than just focus on

the foreign interest? I think that's what upsets most people is that the government does not seem to be able to do anything in terms of upholding

rule of law.

It seems that the political parties that have captured the Iraqi state are willing to go right to the death in order to preserve their power. And

that's what hurts as an American citizen.

GIOKOS: Yes, and it's really interesting, you know, the government or the caretaker government versus the political parties, where the trouble is

actually, you know, brewing where you've seen this fragmentation.

So Jiyad, you know, when I see what Muqtada al-Sadr did earlier this week, saying that he's leaving politics and the sort of spurring the protest

action versus him telling his supporters to leave the Green Zone. What does that tell you about the influence he yields?

And, you know, one of our reporters said, we don't know what kind of conversations were being had in the background for him to make the

announcement to ask people to leave the Green Zone.

JIYAD: Well, essentially, he let his supporters have a free 24 hours to do as they please. He gave her a sort of angry press conference earlier today,

when he asked them to pull back so that he did not want him to get into violence.

But he essentially waited a whole day before he pulled them back. It does show that he has tremendous influence among his own supporters. It does

send a message to his rivals and opponents, that he is a key player in the country, he cannot be frozen out of government, he cannot be easily


But also that he has the potential to use violence as much as in the other side. And I think that's really the big concern here is if they cannot find

a political solution, or they resort to violence, again, in order to reach the next step in their political careers.

GIOKOS: I think yesterday we were talking about a possible escalation. We didn't really know where it was going and a much tempered view coming

through today. The point is that many people are saying this; this is going to be recurring.

Is there any hope or any sort of light at the end of the tunnel where political parties were able to come together to figure out a solution? And

as you say, the caretaker government finally stepping in, in some way to help form an official government or create elections? I mean, there are so

many options here. It's about the world, I guess.

JIYAD: Exactly. It is about the political world. Nobody wants to do anything that affects their interests negatively. So if early elections are

going to have a negative effect, then they will postpone those selections and they'll keep the situation as it is. And really it's about who is

willing to give in or compromise and neither side seems willing to.


JIYAD: So looking ahead and you say light at the end of the tunnel, I'm not sure there isn't yet with the current sort of mindsets that we have. It's a

zero sum. Its how can I defeat my opponent? And how can I maintain my power, my privilege, my positions, my patronage, and the average citizen

are completely ignored.

I mean, we still only have 12 hours of electricity a day here in Baghdad; its still temperatures are very high, well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. And

we still struggle with millions of young people without jobs; our healthcare system is in bad condition.

Food prices are high gas prices are increasing. And yet these powerful parties, powerful leaders, powerful militias are fighting each other for

who gets to become minister of - controls the government.

And they misunderstand that, that people's patience for people whose subservience I think, eventually, protests will break out not because

political leaders weren't meant to, but because people have had enough, and this is the danger of that they need to recover.

GIOKOS: Yes, yes, exactly. As you said, the economic scenario could definitely spur a lot more resentment. Muqtada al-Sadr has spent years

building a political movement and building up political power in Parliament, why suddenly would you say he's just want to throw it all in

and say, well, this is my official retirement when he had the most get the majority of seats or the most seats in parliament?

JIYAD: Well, I mean, according to my recollection, this is probably the eighth time that he's resigned or withdrew from politics. So this is

definitely not a retirement, in my opinion, I think this is just a small tactical step.

And I think this address will resort to protests or direct action again, the next few days or weeks. I think for now, he just wants to relieve him

with some of the accountability and the pressure for the - that occurred yesterday.

And he definitely believes that he is the top shear political leader in the country, and therefore he has to be part of the state, he has to be part of

government. So I think he will be back. I don't think he's actually left the scene. And for now, he's just trying to recalibrate to see what the

next move is.

GIOKOS: I want to talk about his ideology and this anti Iran rhetoric. Do you buy into that?

JIYAD: I definitely think he's set himself up in opposition to Iran. He realizes that it's in his interest not to fall under their thumb and

influence, also, that this buys him a lot of support.

Domestically, a lot of people are critical of Iran, also internationally, whether it's U.S. or some of the Gulf countries or even the rest of the

Middle East, a lot of them have deep suspicions about Iran.

And if Muqtada al-Sadr is one of the politicians who is willing to stand up to them, even if in a superficial way, then that is something to be

welcomed. And as a Shia leader, it's very rare to a Shia politician who is willing to sort of set himself up in opposition to Iran.

Obviously, we know he maintains good relations with Iran and has contact with Iran. But this is a domestic power struggle. Even Iran is not able to

call the shots completely right.

This is a fight between Shia parties inside Iraq, trying to gain control of the next government, and he's one of the players in them.

GIOKOS: Sajad Jiyad, thank you so much for joining us. Let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. People are

finally able to return to their homes 11 years after Japan's worst nuclear disaster.

The town of Futaba, which hosts the disabled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, has lifted its evacuation order. It is the last of 11

districts to reopen to residents since the 2011 nuclear disaster at the plants.

The Chinese city of Shenzhen has shut down the world's largest electronics markets in an effort to stop a COVID outbreak. This comes after a few

people tested positive for COVID 19.

Three Shenzhen neighborhoods are now locked down until Friday. Residents are forbidden to leave their homes and less it's for testing. French tax

authorities are cracking down on undeclared swimming pools.

They've discovered more than 20,000 undeclared pools by using computer software to spot outlines of the pool in aerial photos. Pools in France are

subject to taxes because they can add to property values.

Right, you're watching "Connect the World". And still ahead, an interview with Israel's UN Ambassador about efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal.

Why Israel's leaders say that must not happen.



GIOKOS: A potential stumbling block remains to reviving the Iran nuclear deal. President Ebrahim Raisi is insisting on the closure of an ongoing

IAEA probe before a final agreement is reached.

The probe involves unexplained traces of enriched uranium at several Iranian research sites. Despite the President's demand, a U.S. spokesperson

says his country remains hopeful about reviving the deal after Iran agreed to key concessions on some major issues.

Now one country in the region Israel has made its position very clear on reviving of the deal. It does not want that to happen. And I want to talk

about that with the Gilad Erdan, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations joining me now from New York.

Ambassador, really good to see you, I think firstly, let's start off by why you do not want to see the deal in its current form, despite concessions

made by in Iran actually go ahead.

GILAD ERDAN, ISRAEL AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Thank you, Eleni and good afternoon. Thank you for having me on your show. I think it's quite

clear that Israel believes that this deal is going to harm dramatically, not only regional security, but also global security.

For Israel, Iran poses an existential threat. We are the only country that the Ayatollah regime openly publicly threatens with annihilation. And this

deal is not going to solve even the only problem that it was meant to solve meaning stopping Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Why? Because this deal includes sunset clauses that basically are going to make sure that all of the restrictions on Iran will be lifted in less than

seven years. And Iran will become a nuclear threshold state and this is with the legitimacy of the international community.

So for us, it poses an existential threat, but as I said, it's also a threat to the whole region because it does not address Iran - activities.

It does not address the fact that they support the Houthis which are threatening the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

It does not address the fact that they support Hamas and Hezbollah designated terrorist organizations that are launching thousands of missiles

against Israel.


ERDAN: And clearly it does not even address their ballistic missile program. Iran is testing intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach

everywhere Paris, London. And if they want to export their Shia revolution, their Shia hegemony to impose it everywhere, that would supply the means

the weapons for them to do it.

GIOKOS: Ambassador, I want you to take a listen to what your Prime Minister said recently about the deal. Listen in.


YAIR LAPID, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: We've made it clear to everyone if a deal is signed, it does not obligate Israel. We will act to prevent Iran

from becoming a nuclear state. We are not prepared to live with a nuclear threat above our heads from an extremist violent, violent Islamist regime.

This will not happen because we will not let it happen.



GIOKOS: Ambassador, as we heard the Prime Minister there saying we will not let it happen. So what does that mean in real terms? We know Israel is not

beholden to any type of deal that would be signed; Tehran has accused Israel of targeting its nuclear facilities. Are we talking about a military

response here? What would not let it happen look like?

ERDAN: Right now, we're not talking about anything, we hope that still the international community will wake up and understand that Iran's race

towards producing a bomb can be stopped only with a combination of diplomatic isolation, crippling economic sanctions and also a credible

military threat that would force them to pick to decide between their own survival as a regime and then dangerous, crazy nuclear ambitions.

If this doesn't happen, as our prime minister said, we are not bound by any international agreement that is endangering our security. We have to build

our military capabilities that would enable us in the future to defend ourselves from a nuclear Iran.

If you see, there is a member state here at the UN that is threatening time and again, another member state with annihilation. And not only that the

word doesn't do anything, it's discussing with Iran, a deal that would enable Iran to become a nuclear power, I mean, I really cannot understand

this behavior.

GIOKOS: Ambassador, you said so many interesting things. And I get it; you're saying that you're worried about Iran turning into a nuclear armed

state. It's a threat regionally; it's a threat to you as well.

You also just now said, and I just written this down, we're going to build capabilities, that are going to help defend us against an armed Iran from a

nuclear perspective.

If the deal if any deal goes through where there's no nuclear enrichment by Iran, and they're addressing all the other issues, you spoke about

ballistic missiles and all the other threats globally and regionally. Would Israel be willing to commit to a nuclear arms free Middle East? Would that

be on your radar? And what would that mean for your nuclear program?

ERDAN: Let's - this is a very interesting question. But let me clarify first. Israel supports diplomatic solution. But when it comes to Iran, a

diplomatic solution means only a solution that permanently stops Iran from becoming nuclear threshold state.

There is no way in the world that you can compare between a radical Ayatollah regime the number one state sponsor of terrorism, and a liberal,

the most vibrant democracy liberal democracy in the Middle East.

And, you know, I have many engagements with my Arab counterparts as an ambassador, before that I was the senior minister, they are not concerned

by the question with whether Israel has or doesn't have nuclear weapons.

Why? Because they know we are never going to threaten anyone to attack them. So I think, again, it's not a real comparison between Israel and


GIOKOS: I get it. But you know we're talking about nuclear capability in the Middle East as a whole. And I have to say, this is also quite

interesting, where you spoke about your friends and your new allies in the region, some of whom are actually in support of some kind of nuclear deal

with Iran.

It seems as a divergence of views. When you say you're in conversation with them, are those differences coming up?

ERDAN: I'm sure there are differences. We're not exactly the same. And as I said, Israel is the only country that is openly being threatened with

annihilation, and our enemies are many times trying to delegitimize our existence or the whole notion of the existence of a Jewish state.

But I can tell you that I experienced firsthand many encounters with my colleagues, and they are also deeply concerned by this potential deal. I'm

not going to speak for their foreign policy.

But you all remember that just recently, in Israel during the Negev Summit, and where during President Biden's visit to Israel, we discussed with them

a new architecture of you know, a regional missile defense system.

So it means that they're also deeply concerned by the new threat. But of course, their response is quite different from Israel.

GIOKOS: Ambassador, thank you very much for your insights. Good to have you on the show. And just ahead it's not going to fly until it's ready, that's

what NASA is telling the world after its scrub the launch of its new moon rocket.


GIOKOS: So when could it be ready and what are the hurdles, our reports up next.


GIOKOS: The timing is still uncertain, but NASA may be looking at a possible Friday launch for its giant moon rockets Artemis 1. But first, the

space agency has to fix an engine problem which forced her to scrub Monday's planned at liftoff. CNN's Kristen Fisher brings us the latest from

the Kennedy Space Center.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Mission and liftoff of the Space Shuttle Discovery

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Engine number 2058 has helped propel six space shuttles into orbit, starting with

this flight back in 2006.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Scrub of the attempt of launch of Artemis 1.

FISHER (voice over): But today, the system that cools that engine was the primary culprit behind the scrub of the first test flight of the Artemis

moon rocket.

MICHAEL SARAFIN, ARTEMIS MISSION MANAGER: We need the engine to be at the cryogenically cooled temperature such that when it starts it's not shocked

with all the cold fuel that flows through it.

FISHER (voice over): NASA says it's too soon to determine when it will try again. But Artemis Mission Manager Mike Serafin gave a classic NASA

response when addressing if the next launch opportunity on Friday is still in play.

SARAFIN: There's a nonzero chance we'll have a launch opportunity on Friday.

FISHER (voice over): The Artemis rocket or SLS has largely been cobbled together using leftover parts from the shuttle program. The four RS-25

engines on Artemis 1 combined flew more than 20 shuttle missions.

NASA had hoped that by recycling these old parts, they'd be able to build this new rocket faster and more affordably. Instead, the SLS rocket is six

years behind schedule, and billions over budget.

LORI GARVER, FORMER DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, NASA: We know these shuttle parts were very finicky and expensive. And so it shouldn't have been any surprise

that putting them together differently, was going to also be expensive and take longer than we hoped.

FISHER (voice over): Still, this rocket is the most powerful ever built. It's designed to return humans to the Moon by 2025. And someday go on to

Mars. Thousands of people converged on the Kennedy Space Center today in hopes of seeing it fly for the first time, including Vice President Kamala


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Today was a very important day. And while a lot of folks might be disappointed that the launch did not actually

happen, a lot of good work really happened today.

FISHER (voice over): NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, who owned shuttle flight scrubs four times reminded that these kinds of delays are routine

for any spaceflight, but especially a first test flight.

BILL NELSON, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: This is a brand new rocket. It's not going to fly until it's ready. Needless to say the complexity is daunting when

you bring it all into the focus of account now.

FISHER (on camera): Despite all of the technical issues this rocket is still the only rocket in the world as of now that is capable of carrying

people to the moon and that's this close to being ready to launch.

SpaceX is developing a similar rocket but it's not quite ready yet, though that rocket called Starship is going to be fully reusable which would make

it much more affordable to fly in the future. Kristen Fisher CNN at the Kennedy Space Center.



GIOKOS: This is one story. I'll be watching, of course, very closely. Alright, so before we let you go, if you're based in the U.S. get ready to

say goodbye to rock star Ozzy Osbourne, he's moving back to his home country of the UK and says U.S. gun violence played a role in that


Osbourne and his wife Sharon have lived in Los Angeles for more than two decades. But they say in an interview published by the observer, they're

returning to England in February.

Osbourne said he's fed up with people getting killed every day and he doesn't want to die in America. But it might not be his only reason.

He told a tabloid earlier this year. He wanted to leave because his taxes are getting too high, or is multiple reasons. Alright, well, thank you so

very much for joining us that was "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos, CNN continues after this short break.