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Iran and Saudi Arabia to Resume Diplomatic Relations; Deadly Mass Shooting at Jehovah's Witnesses Center; Benjamin Netanyahu Visits Italy Amid Protests in Israel; Kyiv Honors Fallen Commander; Inside the Secret Talks That Ended Siege of Mariupol; U.S. Adds 311,000 Jobs in February Exceeding Expectations. Aired 10-10:45a ET
Aired March 10, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD.
Coming up this hour, a number of people dead in a mass shooting in Hamburg. Nearly half a million without power in Ukraine's second largest city after
Thursday's strikes. Israel's prime minister is in Italy amid turmoil at home. And later this hour, Ronaldo storms off the pitch in Saudi Arabia.
Well, we start this hour with some developing news and a surprising diplomatic move that could have major geopolitical repercussions for this
region and beyond. Saudi Arabia and Iran today agreeing to resume diplomatic relations after talks mediated by China, with a signing ceremony
happening in Beijing. A statement says the countries plan to reopen their embassies within two months and both agree to respect the sovereignty and
non-interference in each other's internal affairs.
Now the Saudis severed ties with Iran in 2016, when Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the execution of a Shia
cleric in Saudi Arabia. Well, this news coming as Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry is once again calling for a permanent cease fire in Yemen. The
conflict there is seen as a proxy war between the Saudi-led military coalition and Houthi rebels backed by Iran.
Prince (INAUDIBLE) made the cease fire call while meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow. The war has tipped Yemen into what's described as
the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
And all this as the "Wall Street Journal" and "The New York Times" report that Saudi Arabia is laying out its terms to the United States for peace
with Israel. Both outlets say Saudi wants U.S. security guarantees and to help developing civilian nuclear program in return for normalization. Those
are just reports from the "Wall Street Journal" and "The New York Times."
The middle of this and what's going on as far as this is concerned for the U.S., well, Iran who has been ramping up its own nuclear, program and has
been supporting Russia in the war in Ukraine. This up the ante for the Biden ministration to bring two of its most important allies in the region
This is a very, very busy day for news on and from this region. And of course, I am broadcasting to you from our Middle East programming hub here
in the UAE. Stories here that have impact way beyond this region.
Cinzia Bianco is a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She joins us now.
Cinzia, as I say, a very busy. Let's pick apart what we have here starting with the restoration of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Why is this a
CINZIA BIANCO, VISITING FELLOW, EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I mean, as you said, the two have basically broken relations since 2016. And
they have been existential rivals, arguably, for longer, in particular the Saudis have long claimed that Iran has tried to encroach on their security
both by infiltrating the domestic groups and by encircling them via proxies in Yemen, in Lebanon, Iraq and so on.
So it is a big deal that, you know, after two years of on and off private secret talks between the two sides, it seems that they finally reached a
compromise of sorts.
ANDERSON: This as the U.S. and Europe hardened their stance towards Tehran. Not least because of the deadly protests of late and Iranian involvement
with Russia in the conflict in Ukraine. What do you make of the timing?
BIANCO: Yes, I mean, it's really sensitive timing. But from a Saudi point of view, I think it's very interesting to point out that Western, in
particular, pressures on Iran from the Saudi point of view have contributed to making Iran more conciliatory and basically agree to some of the
concessions that the Saudis have been asking them for, for a very long time.
So the fact that the Iranian regime feels under pressure domestically and that internationally is massively under pressure with no prospect of
restoring JCPOA, and therefore, you know, much more difficult for them to finance and fund their regional allies and partners, it sort of puts Tehran
in the position to compromise and sort of possibly accept some of the demands that Saudi Arabia has made to them for a long time. For example on
Yemen. facilitating a resolution of the conflict there.
ANDERSON: We do know that there are talks going on behind the scenes for, and they continue, for a resolution of that conflict in Yemen. Before we
talk about a wider story, which has Riyadh at its center at present, sticking to the restoration of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, this
deal brokered by China, China selling this as the Beijing dialogue. How big a deal is that? Certainly it looks like a huge diplomatic victory for China
in a region which is normally dominated geopolitically by the U.S.
BIANCO: It certainly used to be. I mean, definitely China is no longer just an economic actor in the Gulf. And that's I think the consecration of that.
However, you know, it is very significant symbolically that both Saudi Arabia and Iran wanted to give most of the diplomatic credit to Beijing,
but we have to say that this was a bilateral process, it had been going on for over three years. And it was also facilitated by Iraq and Oman.
So my sense is that China hosted the final ceremony for the signing of the deal, and you know, sort of sweetened the deal. We will have to see how.
But I don't really think that they can claim a major role in sort of agreeing on the nitty-gritty and finding the compromise and the mediation
of the questions.
ANDERSON: Finally, I just want to get your sense of what Riyadh is up to at the moment because as we see the restoration of ties with Iran, so we see a
couple of other layers to the diplomatic position of the kingdom. The foreign minister in Moscow this week potentially looking at certainly
offering an opportunity for mediation between Russia and Ukraine. That would suit Washington.
Washington needs a stakeholder that is talking to both sides at the moment because frankly, you know, the West does not have open channels of
communication with Moscow. And we see reports that Washington and the Saudis are looking, certainly, to reset their relationship. And we hear
talk of potential normalization of relationships between Saudi and Israel.
Take those on for me.
BIANCO: I mean, I think I have two concepts for you. One is extreme hedging that the other one is strategic ambiguity. I think the Saudis have been
playing these two games at least for a year, perhaps longer, in trying to basically juggle very different dossiers and have relations with rivals
and, you know, actors from all sides of sort of the equation. They're certainly not afraid of getting in the mix and of sort of having eggs in
different baskets, balancing both Iran and possibly a normalization with Israel, although I am not that confident that they are in any rush to go
ahead with normalizing relations with Israel.
And also sort of getting in the mix of the Ukraine-Russia war to sort of also cement their role as a global actor, no longer just a regional actor.
And you can see that, you know, they're very active in India as well. They possibly, possibly might join the BRICS or the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization as well. It's Saudi, they're trying to figure out a more of a global role that also involves hedging between very different sides.
ANDERSON: And let's be quite clear, the official position of the kingdom is that there is, you know, no effort towards normalization of relations with
Israel at this point.
Thank you, Cinzia. It's good to have you on.
BIANCO: Thank you very much.
ANDERSON: At a very, very busy times in this region and more as we move through the next couple of hours.
The big question in Hamburg this hour is why. Investigators are trying to find the possible motives for Thursday's mass shooting at a Jehovah's
Witnesses Kingdom Hall. Six people were killed and a woman lost her pregnancy. Hamburg officials say the gunman was a former member of the
community, who acted alone and was found dead at the scene. The German chancellor describing the attack as a brutal act of violence.
CNN's Jim Bittermann joins us.
Jim, the Interior minister told reporters earlier that Hamburg has never seen a mass shooting like this. Exactly what happened?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it appears that this gunman came into the kingdom hall last night shortly after
whatever services that were happening there were ended. There were about 50 people in the hall and he began shooting. He was armed with a semiautomatic
pistol, which he had a legal right to carry. And he had fired nine magazines of bullets in the course of the next few minutes.
I want to just give you an idea, Becky, of what this was like from one of the eye witnesses who heard the shots. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): So I was talking to my sister-in- law on the phone last night and all of a sudden I heard four volleys, I think it was. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And I wondered, who is still working
with a jackhammer now? That was my first idea because you don't hear any gunshots and it's hard to tell that it's really gunshots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BITTERMANN: So security officials are saying they're looking into the mental state of the gunman because he apparently was, as you mentioned, a
member of Jehovah's Witnesses up until about 18 months ago. And as one security official described it, he left not under the best terms. And it's
not clear whether he left voluntarily or he was expelled from the organization.
Another possible hint at motivation is that the police said they had no contact with him. There was no police record, although he had filed a
motion and filed to question about some kind of fraud. So there is a question, too, that may have motivated him. It's not known at this time.
But they're still investigating trying to see what could possibly have motivated this. They are ruling out terrorism and they're ruling out
political motives -- Becky.
ANDERSON: I just want our viewers to hear what Chancellor Scholz had to say about this just moments ago. Stand by, Jim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Last night there was a terrible incident in my hometown of Hamburg. Several people have become
victims of a brutal act of violence. In the district of Alsterdorf, a person running amok opened fire in a congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses,
killing several people and then apparently executing himself. It's feared that further victims will succumb to their severe injuries. We are stunned
by this violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Thank, you Jim.
Israel's prime minister is in Italy today as his country's figurehead president urges the right-wing government to rescind its judicial overhaul
plan. Benjamin Netanyahu is attending an economic forum in Rome and will hold talks with the right-wing prime minister there Giorgia Meloni. One
goal of his visit, get Italy to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Mr. Netanyahu's trip comes during a week of raging anti-government, anti- Netanyahu protests and more violence in the West Bank and Israel.
Hadas Gold is connecting us from Jerusalem -- Hadas.
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Becky, those protests have been raging in Israel for the past 10 weeks or so, even following Netanyahu to
Rome where a small group of protesters have been gathering outside of the meeting, protesting against the judicial overhaul. I can't recall the last
time I saw protests doing such in a foreign country.
It just goes to show you how widespread the distaste is for this judicial overhaul. The protest yesterday, while still quite big, we saw them
blocking one of the main highways. We saw them trying to essentially block Netanyahu's departure to Italy from the airport. Netanyahu ended up having
to fly via helicopter into the airport in order to be able to fly out to his strip.
It just goes to show you how these protests appear to not be losing any sort of momentum anytime soon. We're also seeing more and more people who
have significant positions in Israeli society, such the reservists for the air force, for the fighter jet pilots, coming forward to -- just to talk
about how much they disagree with this reform. And then, last night, there was the sort of last-minute impassioned televised speech by the Israeli
And, Becky, it was the first time that the Israeli president spoke out directly against these reforms because until now he talked about how people
need to come to a consensus, how the county is being torn apart by these disagreements.
But last week was the first time that in his speech he essentially said that he believes that the reforms, the way that they are written now, the
way that they are being pushed through the legislative, he called them a threat to the democratic foundations of Israel -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Hadas Gold on this story. Hadas, thank you.
Still to come, a solemn farewell as Kyiv honors a fallen hero from fighting in Bakhmut. Also ahead, an American held captive in Iran for more than
seven years speaks to CNN from his prison cell. His urgent plea to President Joe Biden is coming up.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. Ukraine trying to recover from one of the most intense waves of Russian missile strikes in this war. Authorities in Kyiv
say power and water supplies are restored. But it's a different story in the nation's second largest city. Nearly half a million residents of
Kharkiv are without electricity after Russia's attack on Thursday. Ukraine reporting 95 missiles were launched and six people were killed, most of
them in a residential area of Lviv.
But also in the capital today, a service to honor a Ukrainian commander who was killed in Bakhmut.
CNN's Ivan Watson witnessed what was a solemn ceremony.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is how Ukraine is honoring one of its fallen warriors. A young man, 27 years,
named Dmytro Kotsiubailo. He was the youngest battalion commander in the Ukrainian armed forces, killed this week in that grinding battle of Bakhmut
that has gone on for months.
Now he went under the code name Da Vinci. And Kotsiubailo was famous in Ukraine because as a teenager he had joined the pro-democracy protests here
in Kyiv's Maidan Square, a faceoff against the security forces in which the protesters ultimately won and a pro-Russian president fled to neighboring
Russia. And he joined a militia group after that. Battling pro-Russian forces in the Donbas region. A group called the Right Sector, whose flags
have been demonstrated here in patches as well.
Now Moscow considers that organization a terrorist group and denounces them as Nazis. But last year the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave Da
Vinci the award, calling him a Hero of Ukraine. Now he is being laid to rest. And as you can see that he is truly regarded as a hero by many, many
This underscores the immense cost that the battle for Bakhmut, the cost that it is incurring on the Ukrainian armed forces.
Ukrainian commanders insist that this battle is bleeding the Russian military dry. But it is also causing immense sacrifice for the Ukrainian
ANDERSON: Ivan Watson joining us now live from Kyiv.
I do want to just talk a little bit more about this ceremony and there seems to be a sense that Da Vinci's death might galvanize Ukrainians. Would
that be correct?
WATSON: I'm not sure. I mean, what I was hearing from mourners who are not in the military, who were attending this memorial, and I might add that the
Ukrainian president and the visiting prime minister of Finland, they both attended the funeral here in Kyiv of this slain commander, that there was
more a sense of loss that some of the best of Ukraine, literally a national hero, are dying in this now more than one year-long war, and specifically
in this battle taking place in the small southeastern city of Bakhmut.
And it is a reminder of just the immense cost, the immense price, that this country is paying for what many see as a war for independence from Moscow's
rules and control. This is one man out of untold numbers of people who have died since Russia invaded this country, many of course in the armed
services, but civilians as well, and that death toll is growing with every passing day as the Ukrainian government says, in the huge missile salvo
that was fired by Russia over the past 36 hours, at least 11 people killed. Most of those believed to be civilians.
So this is a price that the entire society is paying in addition to this individual commander, who, again, many people view as a hero. One of the
people that I spoke to at the memorial was a mother in her late twenties of a young son whose own husband is also fighting in Bakhmut as we speak. She
tries to message with that man every day, get at least an SMS to heat that he's still there, he's still alive.
She says that she is hearing that the conditions are very, very difficult in that grinding battle. And it just goes to show that I think every family
in this country is paying some price for Russia's invasion of this country and the country's effort to end this occupation -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ivan Watson is in Kyiv. Ivan, thank you.
Well, early into Russia's invasion, a brutal siege unfolded in the ravaged city of Mariupol, now under Russian control. Thousands of Ukrainian
soldiers and civilians sought refuge in the fortress like Azovstal wrought iron and steel plant, you may remember, which Russia bombarded for weeks.
But it was feared those trapped inside would never make it out, but secret talks were underway. They're allowed a safe evacuation and surrender, which
then allowed Russia to fully seize Mariupol and secured its long-sought land bridge with Crimea.
CNN's Alex Marquardt has this exclusive report.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three months last year, Russian forces laid siege to the Azovstal steel
plant. More than 2,000 Ukrainians, both soldiers and civilians, taking shelter deep underground.
In the port city of Mariupol, it was Ukraine's last stand. After Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on state television ordering the plant
sealed off, quote, "so that not even a fly can escape," these new exclusive videos showed that some of his top generals were dispatched for intense,
never-before-seen negotiations for the release and surrender of those in Azovstal.
These clips and photos are from Oleksandr Kovalov, a Ukrainian member of Parliament who had previously served as a Soviet paratrooper. He told us he
reached out to old contacts in Russia's security services.
OLEKSANDR KOVALOV, UKRAINIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT (through text translation): There are people with some degree of sanity who wanted to
help. And some wanted blood and continued shelling and bombing with hatred.
MARQUARDT: Soon, Kovalov said, two senior Russian military intelligence generals were involved, Alexander Zorin and Vladimir Alekseev. Both are
highly decorated. General Zorin was involved in Russia's campaign in Syria, seen here with President Bashar al-Assad.
General Alekseev is the deputy head of Russia's military intelligence sanctioned by the U.S. for cyberattacks, including election interference in
the E.U. and U.K. for the 2018 poisoning in England of a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter.
This clip shows Alekseev at the steel plant, surrounded by Ukrainian troops from the Azov Battalion, which Russia calls Nazis. Zorin photographed
KOVALOV (through text translation): These are the moments that we were worried about. A moment of trust. When we did everything so that the two
sides came together, looked into each other's eyes, the Russian side promised that there would be a civilized exit for our soldiers.
MARQUARDT: Three times Kovalov went to Mariupol which he says was under constant shelling. A senior Ukrainian military intelligence official,
Dmitry Usov (PH), joined him and took charge of the talks with the Russian generals.
KOVALOV (through text translation): We tried to show the whole world that it is possible to find a compromise, if only for the sake of saving people.
MARQUARDT: In early May, the civilians were released, soldiers still under attack. On May 16th, a final deal was struck. Soldiers would leave, Russia
would take over Mariupol. The first Ukrainian soldiers emerged on stretchers. Many others carried or limping. They surrendered their weapons.
General Zorin, seen here, speaking with the Azov commander.
KOVALOV (through text translation): Everyone behaved professionally. There was no provocation from either side.
MARQUARDT: Kovalov says he went with the soldiers as they were taken deeper into Russian-occupied Ukraine.
KOVALOV (through text translation): We have shown that these communication bridges work. The main thing is the desire of people to hear each other and
go towards each other. Still, not everything is lost in this life, you can still be a human. Even at war.
MARQUARDT (on-camera): Kovalov tells us that he continues to try to work on bringing home those remaining fighters who are at Azovstal. He says there
are around 2,000 who are still being held in Russia or Russian-held territories. And for his work in Mariupol, the head of Ukrainian military
intelligence wrote a commendation letter to parliament, praising Kovalov for his important and invaluable help in ending the siege at Azovstal.
Alex Marquardt, CNN, Lviv.
ANDERSON: Well, just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, with me, Becky. Anderson, the latest numbers showed the U.S. job market is still hot. What that could
mean for Fed rate rises. More on that after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.
Your headlines this hour. Germany is in shock after a gunman opened fire at a Jehovah's Witness center in Hamburg. Six people killed and a woman lost
her pregnancy in Thursday's attack. Officials say the shooter was a former member of the community who acted alone and was found dead at the scene.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants Italy to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He's in Rome for an economic forum and he's
meeting Italy's right-wing prime minister. The visit coming as Israel's figure head president Isaac Herzog calls on Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing
government to rescind its controversial judicial overhaul plan, which has sparked ongoing anti-government protests in Israel.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to resume diplomatic relations after talks mediated by China in a signing ceremony happening in Beijing. The
statement says the countries plan to reopen their embassies within two months. The Saudis severed ties with Iran in 2016 when Iranian protesters
stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the execution of a Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.
Well, the U.S. jobs market has delivered another big surprise having 311,000 jobs in February. That is blowing well past expectations. This
posing a challenge to the attempts to cool the world's biggest economy.
Here's how the wider Wall Street is trading. You can see Dow Jones off about a third of 1 percent, still above 32,000. That will be sort of not
necessarily a key technical level. But this market doesn't seem to have much of a position on this either way. And there are some other stories
that are affecting this market today.
I want to bring in CNN's Rahel Solomon live from New York.
Stick to the story of the hour, the Fed has of course been battling for almost a year to slow this economy and rein in what is the highest
inflation in 40 years. That labor market, though, continues to defy those efforts. Do we have an explanation for this anomaly at this point?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I will certainly try, Becky, but you're absolutely right. The Federal Reserve has hiked interest
rates 450 basis points, 4.5 percent over the last year or so, and yet look at the labor market, to your point, 311,000 jobs. So part of the reason why
is because if you think about the supplies out of the labor market we are still millions of people short of what we were pre-pandemic. So there just
aren't a lot of workers.
Part of the reason why, most of the reason why is early retirement. That can be attributed to about two million jobs there. Also childcare issues
keeping certain parents on the sidelines. And then of course, you know, as bleak as it is, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to the pandemic
that we're of working age Americans.
So you add all of that together, Becky, you have the supplies out of the labor market that's creating some challenges. On the demand side, remember,
Becky, employers fought really hard to get workers because of labor shortages. So what we're seeing is a phenomenon known as labor hoarding.
Some companies are just holding on, trying to retain workers, because they fought so hard to get them to begin with.
And then the third element, Becky, and this is really important, is that consumer spending, though it has slowed certainly not as much as you may
have expected, right. And these are all of the job gains over the last year or so. You can see we've been stuck in this range of that 252 as much as
500,000 a bit more on certain months. But we've really been in this really high range of aggressive jobs being added.
But here's what's really important, Becky. When we start to look at the last few months where we're still seeing really strong jobs gains, it's in
lower wage sectors. It's in categories like retail and hospitality. It's in areas like hotels. 245,000, in fact, of the 311,000 jobs were added in the
month of February, Becky, were lower-pay jobs. So what we're starting to see, and economists are calling this now, a tale of two economies.
For parts of the U.S. economy that are more interest rate sensitive, but also include higher paying jobs like technology, we're seeing some job
losses. Parts of the economy where we are still spending one as consumers, but they're also lower paid jobs, we're are still seeing job growth there.
So lots of different factors happening but that's part of the reason why even after all of the Fed has done, we're still seeing really strong job
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Good stuff, Rahel. Thank you very much indeed. Rahel Solomon is in New York for you.
In that same city, prosecutors have invited former U.S. President Donald Trump to testify before a grand jury. That grand jury investigating a hush
money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, a sign their investigation is wrapping up. Yet you may feel a little deja vu here, the
$130,000 payment was made through intermediaries just before the 2016 election. And while not necessarily illegal, it may have broken campaign
finance laws if Trump doctored business records to conceal it. His spokesman calls the investigation a witch hunt.
Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. And the French president and British prime minister
sitting down for the first talks between their two countries in five years. Emmanuel Macron hosting Rishi Sunak for discussions on the war in Ukraine,
on illegal migration along the English Channel, and combatting radicalization amongst other issues.
Well, the U.N. has bought a large crude carrier to offload a million barrels of oil from the decaying FSO Safer. The rusting supertanker has
been anchored off the coast of Yemen for more than 30 years and hasn't been maintained since 2015 due to the war in Yemen, raising fears of a possible
oil spill or an explosion that would cause a massive environmental disaster.
Georgia's parliament has withdrawn a controversial foreign agents bill after two nights of mass protests. Lawmakers voted down the bill, which
would have required some organizations to register as foreign agents. Rights activists say it would have been a setback for the country's
Well, 51-year-old Siamak Namazi is a businessman with dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship. Back in 2015 he was arrested by Iranian authorities while
visiting the country. Now, as he remains in Iranian custody today longer than any other American currently held, well, he spoke by phone exclusively
with CNN's Christiane Amanpour from the notorious Evin Prison.
Namazi asked for U.S. officials to ramp up efforts to secure his release and explained why he was willing to take such a dangerous step.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIAMAK NAMAZI, IRANIAN AMERICAN HELD IN IRAN'S EVIN PRISON: The very fact that I have chosen to take this risk and appear on CNN from Evin Prison, it
should just tell you how dire my situation has become by this point. I've been here a hostage for seven and a half years now. That's six times the
duration of the hostage crisis. I keep getting told I'm going to be rescued. And deals fall apart or I get left abandoned.
Honestly, the other hostages and I desperately needed President Biden to finally hear our cry for help and bring us home. And I suppose, desperate
times call for desperate measures. So this is a desperate measure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, CNN reached out to the Iranian and U.S. governments for comment. Tehran has not replied. The White House has given us the following
response. "Iran's unjust imprisonment and exploitation of U.S. citizens to use as political leverage is outrageous, inhumane, and contrary to
international norms. The United States will always stand up for the rights of our citizens wrongly detained overseas including Siamak Namazi.
"Well, senior officials from both the White House and the State Department meet and consult regularly with the Namazi family, and we will continue to
do so until this unacceptable detention ends and Siamak is reunited with his family."
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Namazi's release has been a priority of the current U.S. administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We have made very clear to the regime since the earliest days of this administration, the priority we
attach to seeing the prompt release of those Americans who are detained wrongfully. We are always going to stand up for the rights of our citizens
who are wrongfully detained. And that of course includes Siamak Namazi.
Senior officials from this building as well as from the White House meet and consult regularly with the Namazi family and will continue to do so
until this wrongful and unacceptable detention comes to an end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Ned Price.
Another team loss puts Cristiano Ronald on edge. Why the football star was frustrated over his team's placement in the Saudi Pro League. That is
ANDERSON: Well, if you are regular viewer of this show then you all know that we love our football. But what we love even more is football with a
ANDERSON: Well, this is a video of Palestinian kids playing football in the West Bank's Tulkarem refugee camp. The jersey is flushed in Palestinian
flag colors, however belonged to a club over 5,000 kilometers away. Ireland's Bohemian Football Club. The club partnered with nonprofit
organization Palestine Sport for Life in designing the team's away kits. Proceeds from kit sales aim to raise funds to allow more of the camp's
children to play sports.
And to remind you the Tulkarem refugee camp is one of the most densely populated camps in the West Bank. Home to 21,000 Palestinians. Bohemian FCC
sending this message and reminder that every child has the right to play.
And in other sports news, Cristiano Ronald stormed off a field and atop of the table clash last night. In Saudi Arabia, you see the Portuguese
footballer demonstrating his frustration after failing to score for his team Al Nassr for the second match in a row.
And Andy Scholes joins us with more on what was quite a sort of hissy fit by Ronaldo as he left the pitch, Andy.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, Becky. He was having a rough game, you know, all around. You know, they were playing their rivals Al-Ittihad
and the fans there, they were chanting Messi at him throughout the match. And he was doing this back at them so you know it was getting to him. Messi
winning the World Cup may be one of the worst things ever to happen to Ronaldo because you know, he's always been in the conversation. Who's the
greatest of all time, was it Messi, was it Ronaldo?
But coming up on "WORLD SPORT," Becky, we're going to be talking about another greatest of all time, there is no doubt, skier Mikaela Shiffrin set
a big record today and we'll tell you all about it.
ANDERSON: I'm really looking forward to that. And I am so pleased that you got her front and center on "WORLD SPORT" because that is a terrific story.
Andy, thank you. Andy Scholes with your "WORLD SPORT" up after the break. I'm back top of the hour for you.