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Connect the World

Rare Protests Erupt Across China Over Zero-COVID Policy: Vigil In Hong Kong In Support Of Mainland China Protesters; Global Markets Fall Amid China Zero-COVID Protests; U.S. Soccer Flag Flap With Iran; Youngsters From Ghana Top South Korea 3-2; France Advances To Knockout Stage Behind Mbappe Brillance; U.S. Soccer CEO Talks Upcoming Match Against Iran; Pro- Palestinian Sympathies Present At Tournament; Rare Protests Challenge Beijing & Zero-COVID Policy; U.S. Diplomat: Sanctions On Russia Have Made A Difference; Russian Mothers Launch Petition To Bring Soldiers Home; Supreme Leader's Neice Slams Iran's Regime; Fans Talk About Their World Cup Experience. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 28, 2022 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to what is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson live for you from Nova.

We will have all of the updates from what has been a terrific day of football here at the World Cup in just a few moments.

First, though, our top international stories, as you would expect on CNN.

"Give me liberty or give me death." This has become a rallying cry for extremely rare protests that are sweeping China from Beijing and Shanghai

in the east to Hotan in the west, these are unprecedented scenes playing out across the country.




ANDERSON: For the first time in decades, thousands of protesters are speaking out angrily after nearly three years of rigid COVID lockdowns and

constant COVID testing.

This, as China reports a sixth day of record COVID infections despite its zero-COVID policy.





ANDERSON: This is the first time that protests have taken aim at the central government. Some people are calling openly for China's president

and the Communist Party to step down.




ANDERSON: Police have been out in force in Shanghai. They dragged people away and loaded them into vans on Sunday night.

A BBC journalist was amongst those arrested then released. This video from Reuters shows him being dragged to the ground by officers. There are

reports of other journalists being targeted.

A deadly fire on Thursday appears to have sparked the outpouring of anger. Ten people were killed in a Xinjiang Province. Many believe firefighters

arrived late because of strict COVID measures.




ANDERSON: As people gathered to grieve and protest in that province, Beijing changed part of its COVID containment measures. But it wasn't

enough to tamp down on he dissent.

CNN's Selina Wang attended a rally in the Chinese capital on Sunday and filed this report.



SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm in the center of a Beijing protest. They are chanting that they don't want COVID tests. They

want freedom. They've been chanting this for hours.

People have gathered here in the center of Beijing to protest the COVID measures. We are in the city center. This is also where the authorities

have urged people to stay at home because the COVID outbreak is severe here.

Now the area is also important because this is where the American embassy is over there. There are many foreign embassies over here.

There's a heavy police presence. I'm surrounded by police. They are telling me to shift in a bit. If we turn the camera, there's a row of police.

There is mostly young people who have gathered here. And many people are also holding white papers in their hands, which is a sign of solidarity

against censorship.


ANDERSON: Selina Wang reporting on Sunday.

Dozens of protesters gathered in Hong Kong for a vigil on Monday night to show support for those demonstrators in mainland China.

Senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, has more on what is a rare move.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The white sheets of paper that have become a symbol of the protests in mainland China have

spread here to Hong Kong where you can see small groups of demonstrators have gathered for a vigil for what they say are the victims of China's

zero-COVID policy.

We have heard in these groups separating into groups of 12. The reason is because, in Hong Kong's own COVID regulations, groups of more than 12

gathering are banned right now.

This gathering is being closely watched by police, who are urging people to move on, who are trying to create a space for this.

Opposition protests, opposition political parties, independent news media have largely been crushed in this city in the last several years. So a

gathering like this is very, very rare.


It gives you a sense of how potent the demonstrations are right now in mainland China and how they seem to be inspiring reactions in other



ANDERSON: Ivan is joining me now live from Hong Kong.

To break down, Ivan, and these extraordinary scenes from today and across the weekend.

You spoke to some of the protesters there in Hong Kong. What have they've been telling you?

WATSON: I spoke with one man originally from Shanghai who describes himself as a victim of China's zero-COVID policy. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): I'm a victim. I can't go home for many years, like two to three years. My parents were locked down for three


And even relatives of my good friends, they committed suicide because of the lockdowns. I know that people die because of it, because of the side

effects of this policy.

I think everyone who has a sane mind should say something or do something to stop this unreasonable social measure.


WATSON: It is after midnight here in China. Our correspondents, our colleagues in Beijing are not seeing any signs, Becky, of the same protests

that they saw last night there. This is a phenomenon that I guess is evolving.

We have to keep in mind that the Chinese government has an enormous system of surveillance and security that it can bring to bear if it so desires.

That being said, over the course of the weekend, we were able to confirm that at least 16 protests happened in 11 different cities across the

country. Nine of these protests took place on university campuses.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID cases, the fresh COVID cases continue to break records for the sixth straight day. On Sunday, China recorded more

than 40,000 new COVID cases.

So there are no signs of any kind of a let up into the harsh lockdowns, which are imposing such intense psychological and emotional pressure on

Chinese citizens.

Not to mention financial pressure on people who simply can't go to work or keep their businesses open as part of these restrictions.

ANDERSON: Yes, that is something we will discuss next.

Thank you. Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong.

Global markets have taken a sharp plunge as investors react to what is going on in China.

I want to show you how the Dow is trading right now. It did open in the red. It's still down some three-quarters of a percent. That follows

significant losses in the Asian and European trading days.

This is the story out of Asia overnight. China's currency also tumbled against the U.S. dollar earlier in trading.

Marc Stewart is in New York with more on the market reaction, both there and globally.

It's interesting. Ivan just discussing there how stringent these restrictions have been, coming as they do now nearly three years into this

COVID story.

How stringent it's been on people individually, whether it is on their businesses or them not being able to go home to see their families in


This impact on the Chinese economy that these restrictions have had is a really telling, isn't it, for investors around the world?

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. If we look at what is happening in China, young people are having a hard time finding jobs. There's a lot of

uncertainty about the housing market.

These are not just theoretical issues, Becky. These are things that impact people every day.

We touched on the decline in the markets and they are significant. The U.S. stock indices are all seeing losses today or, as we speak, across the


Again, as we saw, the Hang Seng, which is the benchmark for Hong Kong, is down 1.5 percent. At one point on the trading day, overnight, U.S. time, it

was down more than 4 percent.

Something else to pay attention to -- and I think you mentioned it to me last hour, Becky -- was about the fact that China's currency is seeing some

weakening in its value.

We had spoken to a money manager, Stephen Innes, from SPI Asset Management. He brought up a very good point. The weakening yuan suggests that investors

are running ice cold on China and currency may be the simplest barometer to gauge what domestic and overseas investors think. That's something to



Investors are really having to grapple with a very conflicting narrative right now.

Just weeks ago, we had been given some indications that some of these lockdowns, some of these movement restrictions because of zero-COVID in

China, were going to start to lessen a bit. There would be more movement of people.

Then we have these protests. And now it looks like zero-COVID might be here to stay for quite a while.

These are very difficult things to reconcile. And that, Becky, I think that is why the markets are seeing so much consternation, so much turbulence,

not only in Asia but in Europe and where I am right now, in the United States.

ANDERSON: You pointed out earlier that the oil market is affected by this as well. From the region I'm in here, in the gulf, China is such a consumer

of this region's oil.

It will be tough going forward to keep the prices as high as they are even with the production at levels you have at present, should that be a long

term is slowing down of the economy as it were?

Marc, it's always a pleasure. Thank you for that.

Coming up, her uncle the supreme leader of Iran. Why this rights activist is calling for action against his regime.

A social media post leads to a flag flap with Iran. How it might affect international relations just before the political rivals, U.S. and Iran,

face off against each other on the pitch.





ANDERSON: World Cup fandom turned violent in Belgium on Sunday. These were riots in several cities after Belgium was beaten two-nil by Morocco. Police

detained about a dozen people in Brussels and in Antwerp as cars were set on fire and windows were broken.

Belgium must win against Croatia later this week to have any chance of advancing to the knockout stage here.

On the pitch in Qatar, it has been a banner day for goalscoring and thrilling action. Ghana, the youngest team in the tournament stun South

Korea 3-2 in a back-and-forth match.

The fans on both sides were rocking the stadium. The wind boosting Ghana's chances of advancing to the knockout stage.

Earlier today, Cameron and Serbia played a thrilling three draw. The game might have been exciting but it did little to help aid the team and let

them advance to the next round.


Such is the tournament that is the World Cup.

We have just learned that the United States head coach has issued an apology for a social media post that caused Iranian state media to call for

Team USA to be kicked out of this tournament ahead of their crucial match on Tuesday.

The Americans altered the Iranian flag on their social media platform as a sign of solidarity, it seemed, with Iranian protesters. The now deleted

graphic showed the flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic.

Iran's coach says he hopes the next World Cup will be less about politics. Though he says his club supports humanitarian causes around the world.


CARLOS QUEIROZ, IRAN COACH: We have our solidarity with all human causes. We have solidarity with humanitarian causes all over the world, whatever

they are, who they are.

If we are talking about human rights, racism, kids that die at schools with shootings, we have solidarity with all of those causes.

But here, our mission is to bring the smiles for the people at least for 90 minutes. That is our mission.


ANDERSON: CNN's senior sports analyst, Darren Lewis, is back with me this hour.

We'll talk about what is happening on the pitch momentarily.

But this is an important story, isn't it.


ANDERSON: I mean, the U.S. coach apologizing. We have no idea what U.S. soccer put out. We have no idea. We'd rather focus on the match. But I

don't want to sound aloof or that we're not caring my saying that our thoughts are with the people of Iran.

What do you make of that?

LEWIS: Well, he spoke about it very well throughout this tournament. I do feel a bit sympathy for him and the players as well. This has nothing to do

with them.

Maybe an overzealous admin who would have posted this. It has caused great attention.

I can tell you that. At a press conference that CarlosS Queiroz gave, he was applauded off by some of the journalists in the room. Such is their

solidarity with him.

They've been upset with some of the questions, tough, but they are actually fair questions that are being put to them. From people asking about the

situation in Iran.

I have to tell you also, the head of England's game, Queiroz was saying, why don't ask the England head coach about politics? And he said, I've been

asked about politics for the last five years.

That's part of the job. We are in a new world in terms of football. It's not just about what happens on the pitch. It's about what happens off of it

as well.

ANDERSON: It's really interesting. Last hour, we spoke about how players are voicing their opinion about geopolitical and social issues these days.

It's mostly great to hear it, that has to be said. Now hearing the coaches are getting involved. Fascinating.

Let's talk about what's happening on the pitch and what happened on the page over the weekend.

Morocco was superb against Belgium. Ghana, I want to say, more than eking out a win against the South Koreans. And Cameroon put Serbia to the sword


What are we seeing here?

LEWIS: As soon as you asked that question, a smile broke out over my face. It's wonderful to see. Africa is rising. Morocco only got their first World

Cup win since 1998. Only their third in the competition.

Looking over every country, preparing to fight their way to the knockout stages.

Cameroon today, oh my goodness, what courage, what heart, what fortitude they showed today to be able to come back from a goal behind -- sorry, from

two goals behind against Serbia and get to the point which gives them the real chance.

And Ghana, the younger squad in the competition. The score that everyone thought would need a bit more time. They want to do nothing against a

capable South Korean team.

Africa is rising, Becky. I'll be back here --


LEWIS: -- time and again.


ANDERSON: You are welcome back here every single time --


ANDERSON: -- if you're going to do Africa rising with me. It's your turn as much as it is mine.

I do want to note one of the players over the weekend -- we hear a lot about Messi and Ronaldo, two of the bag greats of football. Both of them

are playing at this tournament. We have Ronaldo playing tonight.

One of the guys you hear less about, bit he was absolutely remarkable is Kylian Mbappe. He played it over the weekend. It reminds us that if there's

a player that we should be talking about, it is this young man. He was playing here for France.


LEWIS: Well, he gives very, very, very few interviews to journalists outside of France. I know he spoke to you.


LEWIS: I think you are speaking to a young man quite literally with the world at his feet because he is supremely talented.

We are in the autumn of the careers of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo the two erstwhile greatest players in world football. Messi will dominate

for years to come.

One other play is as good, Erling Haaland, a Norwegian, is not at the World Cup. Mbappe is. He copes to the pressure very well. I think maybe if I sit

next to him enough, I might be as good as him.


ANDERSON: He's charm personified, isn't he.

I spoke to Kylian Mbappe at this time last year, pretty much. You can see that interview. And we talked about the World Cup. We talk about what he

was thinking head of the. You can see that on my social channels.

Thank you very much, indeed.

Getting back to the Iran/U.S. standoff on the pitch. I had the chance to sit down with the recently installed head of the U.S. Soccer Federation

before this backlash, I have to say, over the team's flag post over the weekend.

J.T. Batson says the organization is committed to the players and the issues they care about beyond the matches, including support of the women

of Iran.

Have a listen to part of the discussion that we had.


J.T. BATSON, CEO & SECRETARY-GENERAL, U.S. SOCCER FEDERATION: There will be a shift of focus for Iran, not just about what is going on, on the field,

but also what is going on back home in Iran.

I know that the players are committed broadly to supporting the women of Iran and supporting their focus on basic human rights.

And I think as the players are shifting and preparing to Iran, the discussions will pick up with regard to how we want to support them in that

game and more broadly.

ANDERSON: You're having those discussions?

BATSON: Yes, absolutely. Oh, for sure. For sure, for sure.

ANDERSON: Do you want to just fill me in?

BATSON: Well, I mean, I think our players always want to learn more. They always want to get smarter.

Something that we have been working on is how we bring folks to them who can better educate them on what is a very dynamic situation. It is

something that they are always seeking out ways to learn more.

As I mentioned, focused on the game tonight, but as soon as that is done, they will be focused on Iran. It's not just the 90 minutes that we are

thinking will play against them.

ANDERSON: The reason I ask is because the U.S. Secretary of State --


ANDERSON: -- Antony Blinken has been here --


ANDERSON: -- at the opening of this tournament.


ANDERSON: He's a big soccer fan himself.

BATSON: Huge. Huge.

ANDERSON: He grew up in France. As I understand, he is a PSG supporter.

BATSON: Not perfect, yes.

ANDERSON: Exactly. He has specifically said that the world has galvanized around support for the women of Iran.


ANDERSON: Might we expect a demonstration of support by the U.S. team?

BATSON: As I said, the folks, the players are super focused on England tonight. We have already started conversations around Iran. And I expect

those to pick up materially post the game tonight.

I think a lot of different things are on the table. There are a lot of discussions happening.

Ultimately, it's around the players feel uncomfortable and us supporting them to express what they care about. That all fits within the big "Be the

Change" initiative, which they lead and are leading.


ANDERSON: Two countries used to play geopolitical games across this region, facing face off against each other then on the football pitch for the

second time in what will be the biggest sporting stage in the world. That is the World Cup. This is U.S./Iran on Tuesday night.

To help me unpack that and more, I'm very pleased to have Professor Mahjoob Zweiri with me. He's the director of the Gulf Studies Center here at Qatar


Your work on Iran actually is significant. And I'm --


ANDERSON: -- I'm across that region now for a decade.

I just want to talk, firstly, about what is going on between these two Soccer Federations. The U.S. head coach is apologizing for the U.S. Soccer

Federation changing the flag of Iran on the social media.

What did you make of that and the reply from the U.S.?

ZWEIRI: You know, I see this as a second phase of politicization of Iranian participation in the World Cup. The first phase was when all the Iranian

people, the Iranian team did not repeat the anthem in the opening. That was a first step.

So this one basically has been used by the Iranian establishment to say, look at the Americans, how they act against us.

Of course, it was a mistake. It should not happen. The flag is something well-respected to the nation. It's not belonging to a specific state. So it

shouldn't happen.


To the Iranian people, this is not the case. This is not the issue. To the Iranian people now, what was happening in the last two to three months is

very sad.

I think they want the world to look at this seriously and to show a little bit of sympathy with the Iranians.

The World Cup is a platform where the Iranians show their feelings about what is happening inside Iran.

ANDERSON: There's a fine balance for many Iran fans, isn't there? On the one hand, they want their team to win. There's very sort of nationalistic,

Iranians, anywhere in the world --

ZWEIRI: Correct.

ANDERSON: -- be it in country or those living outside of the country.

On the other hand, many of them don't want to hand a free goal to the regime, so to speak, at this stage.

ZWEIRI: This is the first game ever in contemporary history of Iran, the Republic of Iran where the public is divided between two fronts, whether to

hand it to the regime or actually to support the team, which is something they love.

They love soccer. They love football. They want to show the support of the team. The team represents Iran. All of this.

I think this is the moment when we have to see tomorrow and how the Iranians will show this. How will they act? Whether in a stadium here or

inside Iran?

As we see in the first meeting, the Iranians said that we are sad about what is happening in our country. Tomorrow, they will show how much their

feelings are influencing their performance when it comes to the --


ANDERSON: I wonder what you make -- I mean, it may just be a personal feeling here. But what you make then of -- there has been more political

discourse around this tournament then Darren or I can ever remember around a World Cup. I mean, we are talking about this tournament being used as a


I want to talk about the transformative nature of the tournament. I genuinely think it has been transformative on many levels.

What do you make then of Iranian fans wanting to protest or wanting to show support for the women of Iran not actually been allowed to do so with

either patches or T-shirts in the stands?

What do you make of that? Are you disappointed by that?

ZWEIRI: I think what was happening -- basically, look at how many Iranians have arrived to Doha and how many have arrived from outside of Iran.

If you look at how many actually -- around 35,000. None of those people were actually allowed to come. That's a big question mark. Why are they not

come into Iran? And there's a question, were they banned from coming because there's a sort of concern about political activism in the World


What was happening basically is the fact there is a serious concern from that regime about using the World Cup as a platform against the Iranian


They know that this World Cup is watched by four billion people around the globe. Basically, it is a very dangerous issue. They observe it carefully.

Also, they wanted to make sure that there's no bad impact on them and on the team where they were. They want to make sure there's no --

participating in the World Cup. It is in a neighboring country and a Muslim country.

They want to show all of this together. And the supreme leader said it clearly two days ago that he is happy about that participation and the

winning that the team has achieved --


ANDERSON: It's just so complex.

ZWEIRI: Yes, indeed.

ANDERSON: It is not just the flags and support for the women of Iran that we are seeing, whether the authorities here or FIFA want it or not.

We are also seeing support for Palestine. I think that the Palestinians, that is reflected by so many of the Arab fans here.

When we talk about this being a transformative tournament, it is giving young Arabs a voice in a way that we have not seen across this region


The tournament organizers said that this would be a World Cup not just for Qatar but for the region. Whether you bought that or you agreed with them

or not, when you're here, it is transformative.

ZWEIRI: Absolutely. New reports from the region for years. You know the reason very well.

This whole World Cup is a political event whether you like it or not. This is the region where we always broadcast reports about instability, wars,

terrorism. All negative issues.

This is the time where the world is watching something about World Cup football, which brings in not (INAUDIBLE) -- brings middle-class people,

the ordinary people to come watch, enjoy, being engaging with the society without any kind of politicization of this and they want to have fun.


So this is the time when four billion people watching out of a Muslim country hosting all of those people and telling them to come and enjoy the

World Cup. Enjoy this moment without any kind of politicization.

Of course, I do understand what's happening in the West, on the European side. I know what's happening with the legalization of liberalism. I don't

understand as a professor.

I do believe that that should not be a reason to impose this on other cultures, other religions. They should understand the differences. They

should allow nations to be different and to respect differences.

I think that they should enjoy the moment that this region is producing sort of positive image of the region of the people and the world and bring

it together to be basically a representative of --


ZWEIRI: -- peace and --


ANDERSON: There have been contentious issues, which we've reported on, and rightly so. We will continue to see report on those as move through and out

of the tournament.

But there's a confidence that has come from so many people from this region I have spoken to about this tournament being here, about seeing their teams

play, which is just remarkable. We have to applaud the --


ZWEIRI: History will keep it.

ANDERSON: I will have to leave you there. I'm going to have you back.

ZWEIRI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much.

ZWEIRI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Professor Mahjoob Zweiri.

ZWEIRI: Nice to be with you.

ANDERSON: We'll take a very short break. Back after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back, you are watching CNN. I am Becky Anderson, with a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD live from Doha in Qatar.

More on football, later.

But first, I want to get to these extremely rare protests sweeping across China. It's about the country's strict zero-COVID policy.




ANDERSON: For the first time in decades, thousands of protesters are demanding freedom, not only from three years of Beijing's rigid COVID

policy, but also from the government's grip over all aspects of life.

This is, China reports, the sixth day of record COVID infections. The National Health Commission reported more than 40,000 new cases.

I want to talk more about this, these lockdowns and the COVID policy.

Dr. Amesh Adalja is a senior scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security, joining me live.

Doctor, we are seeing cases rise, but the reality there is that these lockdown measures have led to immense human suffering across China. And as

I say, arise, ironically, in cases, or perhaps not ironically.


But what is your view on this zero-COVID strategy? And does it make sense to you?

DR. AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHN HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: Zero-COVID has never made sense to me. When you try to implement it, it is

a complete failure.

This stems from the fact that this is a virus that cannot be eradicated, eliminated. It transmits efficiently and was always destined to become an


Your goal with COVID-19 has always been two separate cases from hospitalizations and deaths, to remove the ability of the virus, to crush

hospitals, not to eradicate or eliminated. That is a fantasy.

Unfortunately, people in China had to suffer for so long because of the Chinese governments adherence to kind of fantastical thinking that is not

based in reality.

ANDERSON: For those -- I mean, zero-COVID policy has meant very few people -- although the numbers are ticking up -- have actually had COVID.

Which means, I guess, correct me if I am wrong, it is much, much more likely, as they come out of COVID that cases will tick up. There's no

immunity, correct?

ADALJA: There's no immunity from infection because so many people have not been infected.

They do have a fairly high vaccination rates in the general population. But we know those vaccines are probably not as effective as the Western

vaccines. So there are a lot of people who have this immunity gap, which will increase cases.

I think it is more important for China to focus on protecting those at risk for hospitalization by putting effective vaccines into them, getting drugs

like Paxlovid available, and making sure they have the capacity, rather than this unsustainable approach that can never end based on what this

virus is.

If they stick to this, there's no end in sight. It will lead to untold suffering, both of peoples' lives, and economically for their country.

ANDERSON: So if the lockdown were to be dropped, what would that look like in China, given current cases and vaccine rates, to your mind?

ADALJA: What we would see is a surge in cases. That is not going to be anything surprising. The virus is there. It will spread. The question is,

how many high-risk people will be infected?

We know that China thinks backwards. They did not make the vaccine available to people above 60 early on. We know that is still trickling

down. There's not that many high-risk people who are vaccinated.

So I do think that we would see a surge in hospitalizations and deaths among the high-risk. Whether we can handle that capacity, that is a

question that only they could answer because they have been able to build hospitals very quickly.

The point is, they are going to have to do this at some point. They have had two and a half years to use mRNA vaccines in the population, but they

have refused them.

So to me, it is not a situation, of their complete doing. It really reflects utter incompetence from the Chinese government to allow this to

fester on for two and a half years in this manner, with this magical thinking.

ANDERSON: Fascinating, isn't it?

Thank you, Doctor.

ADALJA: Thanks.

ANDERSON: The latest out of China, for you.

To Ukraine now. And an official with the U.S. State Department tells CNN that sanctions are made, I quote here, "a real difference" on Russia's

ability to conduct what they call its Special Military Operation.

Ambassador Jim O'Brien is the top American diplomatic on the sanctions policy. He visited Odessa's main port this weekend.

And he spoke exclusively with CNN's Matthew Chance.


AMB. JIM O'BRIEN, HEAD OF U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT'S OFFICE OF SANCTIONS COORDINATION: Before I arrived, the main sanctions program was put in

place. I think it has been very effective at what it was designed to do.


O'BRIEN: Intended to keep Russia, to deny Russia the resources it needs to carry out the war that it wanted. So this imperial project, quickly taking

over Ukraine, and then being able to assert itself more broadly.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT; Right, but it has not forced the Kremlin, has it, to change its policies, to change its


O'BRIEN: I think you do see a real difference. Most of the credit goes to the Ukrainians. Their courage and ingenuity on the battlefield, it has been


But you see the Kremlin keep changing what it said its stated aims are, right? It began with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, an effort to take

the capital. It shifted to a sort of incremental improvement on the land that it had taken before the war. Now it's giving that territory back.

So these are real changes in Russian behavior. It is related partly to the sanctions, partly to export controls. So they cannot buy the kind of input

that they need for their military to function.

ANDERSON: Right. Do you ultimately think that the sanctions regime that the United States is imposing on Russia and other countries are as well, will

force the Kremlin to capitulate, will force it to back down?


O'BRIEN: I think we'll, the most important thing, it's the courage of Ukrainians, and the commitment they show on the battlefield.

What we have said, as a government, is we are with Ukraine from now until the end of this war, until Ukraine succeeds.

And that means support for the economy, which is also part of what we are doing here, to make sure that Ukraine to export. It means support for

humanitarian initiatives and for the military.

And sanctions are a piece of that, but they're only one piece of it.


ANDERSON: That was Ambassador Jim O'Brien, speaking exclusively with CNN's Matthew Chance.

Well, CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow for us.

And, Fred, you are there in Moscow. Can you see any clear signs of these sanctions having had the sort of effect that we heard there from Ambassador

Jim O'Brien?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what? I would say to a certain extent, yes. If you go to Moscow here, a lot of

people would be very, very surprised.

We were out and about this entire weekend, going to various shopping malls, shopping centers here in this country, and they are absolutely packed. They

had Black Friday sales. There were customers were everywhere. Clearly, people still have money to spend, still are going out.

Quite frankly, if you are in the city and you did not know that there was this war going on, you would have absolutely no clue that Russia, right

now, is in a serious economic crisis. In fact, they are in recession.

But of course, several caveats to this. On the one hand, Moscow is not the rest of Russia. There certainly are some areas that are suffering more than


And there are a lot of people, indeed, who have lost their jobs. There's a lot of people whose spending power, quite frankly, has significantly

decreased as well. As I mentioned, Russia is officially in a recession.

But I do think that Jim O'Brien has a point when he says that the export controls, especially some of the sanctions that are now affecting the

Russian defense sector, those certainly do seem to be making a difference.

Making it more difficult for Russia to replenish its arsenal, and especially to manufacture higher-grade weapons, for instance, these things

like microchips.

We've seen the effects of some of that on the battlefield with the Russians, for instance, trying to acquire more of those Iranian-made

drones. Apparently, some say also, Iranian-made ballistic missiles as well -- Becky?

ANDERSON: Yesterday was Mother's Day in Russia. Last week, Putin met with some mothers of Russian soldiers. Yesterday, there was a petition launched

calling for the withdrawal from Ukraine.

How much discontent is there amongst these women? Could this make a difference?

PLEITGEN: I think this could make a difference to a certain extent. I think there's a good amount of discontent. I don't think that it is necessarily

with what Russia calls the Special Military Operation itself.

But certainly it is with some of the conditions that the mobilized seemed to be in, not just the ones who have been sent to Ukraine, but the ones who

are supposed to receive training in Russia.

There's talks of poor housing, in some cases, no housing, poor food. And then people, who are not fully trained, apparently, already being sent to

the battlefield as well.

This petition that came out over the weekend is a big one. There have been videos on telegram, by mothers and mothers organizations, that have called

all of this out, called on Vladimir Putin to take action.

Apparently, in some cases, it has already made a difference. For instance, some groups were calling for some students to be sent back, to be allowed

to continue their studies. Apparently, this has happened in some cases.

I think Vladimir Putin takes this very seriously. And that meeting that we saw last Friday, with those mothers, even though it was criticized by some

as only having mothers in it, it certainly showed that the Kremlin takes this very seriously.

It was played on Russian state media throughout that entire day, and the entire weekend. We can see some of that on our screen now.

Becky, one of the things that Vladimir Putin made clear in that meeting, he definitely respects the sacrifices the mothers are making.

He also made it very clear that he will not be deterred from this course. And of course, that course is to continue with what the Russians call that

Special Military Operations -- Becky?

ANDERSON: Thank you, sir. Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow.


Just ahead, this rights activist is calling for global action against the Iranian regime. She also happens to be the niece of Iran's supreme leader.

A look at that dynamic, up next.


ANDERSON: Calling it a "child-killing regime," a niece of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is beseeching foreign governments to cut

all ties with Tehran.

Farideh Moradkhani is a well-known rights activist, opposed to the Iranian regime. Her appeal comes in a video statement shared by her brother two

days after she was arrested last week.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us live from Istanbul this evening.

What do we know about the emergence of this video? And the wider story here about her activism?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned there, Becky, she is known for her activism. She has been an outspoken critic of the

regime in the past.

She comes from a brand of the family that cut ties with the supreme leader a long time ago. Her father was a well-known opposition figure. So really,

no surprise hearing that sort of message from her.

But at the same time, it is so significant hearing someone inside Iran speaking out the way that she did in this taped message that was very

courageous, considering how the regime has been dealing with the dissent of those who have been speaking out.

What we understand, according to human rights activists, she was arrested on Wednesday to serve a 15-year sentence for what had been an ongoing case

for several months.

A couple of days after her arrest, her brother released this video, a seven-minute video in which she slams the Iranian regime, as well as the

international community and the United Nations, Becky.

She is criticizing what she says is this lack of support for the brave Iranian's, as she put it, describing the sanctions by the international

community as laughable, saying more should be done.

They shouldn't be watching what is happening in the country, to see a repeat of 2019, that crackdown where hundreds of people were killed in a

number of days.

She called on the free people of the world, she said, to push their governments to cut ties with the regime, that, as you mentioned, she

described as a murderous, child killing regime.

She ended her message with the slogan of the protest, showing her support for this ongoing movement with women, life, freedom -- Becky?

ANDERSON: Jomana is so on the story for you. We are in Doha.

Thank you Jomana.


We will be back right after this.



MAXWELL, BRAZILIAN FORMER FOOTBALLER: Big pressure but always a pleasure to have family and friends, having a chance to see you in this kind of


But I mean, Brazil, it was a different situation. We came from different cities. Here, we are all considered it's nice here, we are united, which is

the meaning of the sport. As if it were the Olympics.


MAXWELL: Already at halftime, when we were losing 5-0, you know it is impossible to come back, it was a bad feeling, very negative. We needed to

think about something positive, going out of the World Cup.

ANDERSON: Yes. What is your song for Morocco?

MAXWELL: No regret. Patience.


MAXWELL: There's no regret. I think the coach did what he thought was the best, we did not perform well we had to accept, go further. Live goes on,

the ball goes on. That was a very difficult time.


ANDERSON: Well, that was the great Maxwell, who has played with the very best, at Barcelona, PSG.

And tomorrow, you will hear from Fabiola Capela on his time as a coach at the World Cup, with Russia, and of course with England.

Well, fans have brought this World Cup to life. You can hear some of them behind me for most of this broadcast.

And yesterday, when Morocco beat Belgium, their supporters went absolutely wild in the stands. They partied well into the evening.

I have some of those Moroccan fans joining me now.

Mohammad Hadari (ph), Nanei Aloui (ph) and Samia Fakia (ph) joining me now.

Well done, congratulations.

Thank you so much, thank you.

ANDERSON: What a game, what a result!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was amazing, I did not expect the game to go like this, but we are very happy to win. So we hope for the next round, we will do

much better, in finals, if possible.

ANDERSON: I want to talk to you, because he spoke with English really well, the other two. The English is pretty good.

But let me talk to all of you here.

How was that? I mean, the atmosphere, what was it like in the stadium?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was crazy. It was one of the most amazing times I have had in my entire life. You see people all over the world coming to

join, the stadium, coming to watch Morocco.

So it was the best feeling I have ever had for a long time. I appreciate the players so much, to celebrate the competition.

ANDERSON: The thing about Morocco, it is Arab speaking. And it is all about it being a World Cup for the region. Morocco is leading from the front, as

is Saudi as well, as are others.

They also have this kind of Africa Rising theme, some of the African teams are doing really, really well.

How are you enjoying Doha?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far, it has been one of the greatest places here. In regard to Doha itself, the term has been very nice, well organized.

Everywhere, there are places to see.

Even if you don't have tickets, you can watch in a lot of places. So, she is absolutely amazing.

ANDERSON: I've heard about this tournament, being from people from the region, it's not just people from Morocco who are supporting the national




ANDERSON: I mean, you have Arabs from all over the region, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that is the most lovely thing to see, all of the Arabs are gathering together, supporting each other. It is a phenomenal


I am happy to see all of the people from ALL different continents supporting, not just Morocco, but supporting Qatar, supporting Saudi

Arabia. And also African teams, which is so lovely.

ANDERSON: That's why this tournament is so transformative, and we've been talking about that throughout.

But just before we let you go, can Morocco go all of the way? Do you genuinely believe that they could win this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this is the only opportunity that they have --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to go as far, as much as possible. Because we have great hope for our coach. And I hope that we will do much better in the

upcoming games. I am happy to see they are doing everything --


ANDERSON: So you are going to go for it? You will go as far as you can?


ANDERSON: We are going to close out this show with something these guys have been doing for one week now. Give it to me. Come on, how do you sing

to support Morocco?


ANDERSON: I give it to the fans from Morocco this hour!

Join us again tomorrow.

"ONE WORLD" with Zain Asher is next.