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Connect the World

West African Leaders Order Activation of Standby Force; Flames Raze Main Stretch of Historic Community; Americans Moved to House Arrest in Deal to send them Home; ECOWAS Orders Activation of Standby Force; Brian Cox & Nicole Ansari-Cox on Women's Rights in Iran. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired August 11, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This hour one step closer to a possible military intervention in Niger as the block of West African

nations activates a standby force. At least 55 people are now known to have died in the devastating wildfires in the Hawaiian Island of Maui. What's

considered one of the state's worst natural disasters ever?

Six new arrests in Ecuador after the assassination of a presidential candidate CNN is on the ground for you in Quito. And Donald Trump's lawyers

head into court for the first hearing in the 2020 election subversion case against him which is happening today we're getting details from inside.

West African Leaders are ramping up the rhetoric against Niger's military coup leaders by ordering the activation and deployment of a regional

standby force to restore constitutional order. The President of Ivory Coast says his country is ready to deploy up to 1100 troops Niger as soon as



ALASSANE OUATTARA, IVORY COAST PRESIDENT: The ECOWAS heads of state have agreed to the deployment of troops from a number of countries including

Cote d'Ivoire, Cote d'Ivoire will provide a battalion and has made all the financial arrangements for the operation, should it last three months,

provisions will be made in the budget to ensure that our soldiers and officers have everything they need.


ANDERSON: During its emergency meeting on Thursday, ECOWAS said it is also determined to keep all options on the table for a peaceful and diplomatic

resolution to the crisis. Well, for more on this, let's bring in Larry Madowo.

Larry, this is a really fascinating development if the military coup leaders had thought that ECOWAS wasn't going to use or continue to use the

threat of military intervention, and they were sorely mistaken. So what's your perspective at this point, having been across this now, sort of minute

by minute, over these last couple of weeks?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, this appears to be a carrot and stick approach by ECOWAS, we're still talking. But if you don't listen to

our talks, then we're going to have to come and beat you up.

Obviously not in the same words, but that essentially what they're saying that they're not leaving them. They're not putting the military option out

of the table, but they still hope that they can find a diplomatic solution out of this.

That's what President Ebola Tinubu, who chairs the ECOWAS of the state's summit said that they are exploring every avenue, but there's obviously

some impatience from some ECOWAS leaders. Have you heard there from President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire who just says the continued

detention of President Mohammed Bazoum, he considers that a terrorist acts and if they don't release him, we should go in there and get him out.

So he just really impatient to get this done with because he says ECOWAS has always made it its mission that it is against coup. And it's had one

coup to many, Niger, if successful will be after Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea and they are now getting support from the African Union.

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki said he strongly supported the resolutions from ECOWAS, and he also said this I want to read a section

of this for you.

The chairperson calls on the military authorities to urgently halt the escalation of relations with the regional organization ECOWAS, including

the cessation of the continued sequestration of President Bazoum in worryingly poor conditions; such treatment of a democratically elected

President through a regular electoral process is unacceptable.

And that's become a common theme along for many international partners. The U.S. says it's worried about the well-being of President Bazoum, who has

been telling us through sources that he's running out of food and medicine has not been allowed human contact.

And he's been reduced to eating dry rice and pasture, so the ECOWAS mission, if it were to go ahead, Becky, will not just be a military

intervention to reinstate him it's also a hostage rescue by a junta. One analyst tells me that's using President Bazoum as a human shield.

ANDERSON: Larry's on the story for you. Well, as we've reported, at the -- thank you Larry.


The toppling of the Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum is just the latest in a spate of recent coups in Africa as Larry said. They've unfolded within

the context of a wider struggle between the West and Russia for influence in Africa. U.S. officials also warned that Russian Mercenary Group Wagner

is both exploiting and creating instability in West Africa. Here is CNN's Frederik Pleitgen him with more.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Since a military junta overthrew the elected President of Niger, Russian

flags have become prominent at pro-coup rallies.

All the Africans know that Putin is ready to save us this man says -- I prefer that the Russian settle in because today if Russia does so it's not

to exploit resources. It's to help us have peace. But the Wagner Private Military Company might soon be settling in here as well.

France says it believes the Niger junta leaders are already in talks with Wagner to bring the mercenaries to the long independent former French

colony. Wagner Boss Yevgeny Prigozhin after his own failed mutiny inside Russia says the group wants your business in Africa.

In Niger a country where the U.S. has long deployed around thousand troops to support counterterrorism operations that allegedly means Wagner will

soon be fighting terrorism here. I am proud of the guys from PMC Wagner, he said in an audio message. Just the thought of them makes ISIS and Al Qaeda

into small obedient boys.

And while some West African nations have threatened to intervene in Niger after the coup, Wagner could confront them or even France, Russia Analyst

Sergey Markov tells me.

SERGEY MARKOV, RUSSIAN ANALYST: Solider of Wagner will be happy to put French army of the knees in Niger.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Wagner mercenaries were some of Vladimir Putin's toughest and most successful forces in the war in Ukraine. But the group

has also been expanding in West Africa for years.

CNN filmed the mercenaries training security forces in the Central African Republic, but they're also active or have been linked to Libya, Mali,

Burkina Faso and Sudan, huge countries with vast natural resources some of which Wagner are exploiting.

Over the past years investigations by CNN and human rights groups have established Wagner's involvement in and complicity with atrocities against

civilian populations in Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic. And the French say the group is also behind a smear campaign against them.

Paris says this drone video filmed last year in Mali shows white men burying bodies at a site where a fake Twitter account probably created by

Wagner falsely claimed French forces had committed a massacre. U.S. Secretary of State Blinken saying Wagner is both exploiting and creating

instability in Western Africa where Washington has also invested in training local military

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It happened in every single place that this group Wagner group has gone. Death, destruction and exploitation

have followed. Insecurity has gone up, not down.

PLEITGEN (voice over): But for now, Wagner and Russia stocks seem to be rising in West Africa. Tailors in Niger's, capital busy making more Russian

flags to meet increased demand Frederik Pleitgen, CNN Berlin.


ANDERSON: Well, UN humanitarian official says she is appalled by a Russian strike in Ukraine which hit her hotel frequently used by the United Nations

and various NGOs in which Ukraine says also serves as a children's day camp.

This missile attack happened on Thursday in the City of Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine says one person was killed 16 wounded but officials also called the

timing a miracle saying that the children's camp closed just an hour before the strike, possibly saving many young lives.

It's early mourning on the Hawaiian island of Maui where 55 people are now confirmed dead from wildfires. Researchers go through more burned out

buildings they do sadly expect to find even more victims.

This historic community of Lahaina just days ago a thriving tourist town full of history and culture. And for another view, here's a look at Lahaina

before the fires and what it looks like now, homes and businesses utterly destroyed. My colleague Bill Weir walks us through the devastation on the


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: This is the historic banyan tree 150 year old majestic tree at the center of Lahaina town. It looks

like it may have survived it needs water desperately to survive right now but for the locals who are coming down and looking at the damage.


This is such a sign of hope that maybe their iconic tree will have lived when with so much else has gone here, but the history can never be

replaced. Right here this is the first hotel in Hawaii, the pioneer hotel pioneer theater. It's completely gone. Right over here was the library.

It's just now a stone shell of scorched blocks around Front Street their fleet Woods Mick Fleetwood of the band Fleetwood Mac, his place is gutted

out with flames. It's just unrecognizable. One of the most charming beloved port cities anywhere in the world is just scorched, like a bomb went off.

ANDERSON: Let's get you straight to our Senior Meteorologist Brandon Miller, who is at CNN Center in Atlanta. Described there by Bill as if a

bomb had gone off and it just seems that people had absolutely no time really to prepare for this Brandon, what's the story?

BRANDON MILLER, CNN'S SENIOR METEOROLOGIST: Becky, you're right. And it's one of those things that unfortunately, prove to just be un-survivable. The

winds on Tuesday and Wednesday were gusting up to an over hundred kilometers per hour.

The weather is going to cooperate now though going into the weekend where 80 percent containment on these fires and I think we'll get close to

hundred. You see the winds in Lahaina 20 to 30 kilometers per hour. That's more traditional Hawaii weather.

These are the northeasterly trade winds there used to and there will even be some rain that gets there although not likely to the Lahaina I'll show

you why. But here's why the winds are cooperating more now.

We had this high pressure to the north powerful Hurricane Dora that was a category for now as a category three, and it has pushed away. Hawaii is no

longer being squeezed by these weather systems and pushing those hundred kilometer per hour plus winds over Maui.

So that is why we are back to normal Hawaii weather, what they are used to that was certainly something they are not used to. And I mentioned even

some rain showers if you're familiar with Hawaii weather very tropical; you can have rain for 10 or 15 minutes on one part of the island.

Why the other islands -- other part of the islands stays dry. Here's Maui, and here's why Lahaina is unlikely to see any of that rain. Those winds are

coming from here. They push rain up rains on the other side, but not on this side. It's the leeward side of the island. It is the dry side.

And right now it's even a little drier than normal because of some drought. That has certainly been in place for much of the year and last year as

well. So it's pretty long term. You can see here the rainfall totals are again on that Windward side of the island.

So do not expect rain into Lahaina, but certainly some more moisture Becky and that's going to help even though the rain might not get there. It's not

going to be as dry. The winds are not going to be as strong and this is going forward for the next several days. Becky so I do believe the weather

at least will bring them some good news there in Maui.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, sir. Thank you. Well, authorities in Ecuador say the six suspects arrested in connection with the assassination of a

presidential candidate are Colombian nationals and gang members. Fernando Villavicencio was killed on Wednesday during a campaign rally. Joining us

now from Quito is CNN's Rafael Romo. Rafael?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Becky even before the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio Interior Minister -- had

already announced that 59,000 police would be deployed throughout the country.

The original goal of course was to safeguard the upcoming presidential election to be held on August 20th. After the assassination President

Guillermo Lasso issued a decree to deploy the armed forces to strategic areas around the country to tighten security.

And Becky President Lasso also announced Thursday that he has requested support from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to help with the

investigation. Last to say the FBI has accepted his request and a delegation was supposed to arrive Thursday evening.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed that through their legal Attache Office in Colombia. They have accepted that invitation to work here and are assisting

their counterparts here in Ecuador but declined to comment further due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Defense Minister Luis Lara is talking about the security measures in terms of war Becky. He said Ecuador is facing what he called a decisive battle to

protect democracy, security and peace against the brutal threats of transnational crime, drug trafficking and terrorism.


He also said that his country will give the Iron Fist treatment to what he called mercenaries and terrorist. Even with all the measures the government

of President Lasso has taken. There are at least two presidential candidates who say the upcoming presidential debate.

And even the election itself should be postponed given the situation. And in spite of all this, -- she's the top elections official here in Ecuador,

announced Thursday that the election will be held as planned on August 20th Becky, back to you.

ANDERSON: Thank you, sir. You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live today from London. Time here is quarter past four in the

afternoon on Friday. Still ahead, Americans detained in Iran are moved from prison to house arrest. Why this has been called a first big step towards

their freedom and just who is involved in the complex negotiations that got them to this point?


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching the second hour of "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson for you. The U.S. Secretary of State is calling

it the beginning of the end of their nightmare.

He's talking about what will hopefully be the release of five Americans that the U.S. deems wrongfully detained in Iran. Well, they are now under

house arrest. As a first step four of those five were just moved out of a notorious Iranian prison.

This complex multi layered deal involves negotiations from multiple countries and the pending release of $6 billion in Iranian funds frozen in

South Korea and an important note it is not yet complete.

So tonight we asked what this anticipated deal means for the future of Iranian American relations. Well, let's kick this off with more from CNN's

Kylie Atwood at the U.S. State Department.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The White House confirming five Americans held by Iran is a step closer to freedom, freedom that for

the United States will come at a price.

BLINKEN: My belief is that this is the beginning of the end of their nightmare. And the nightmare that their families have experienced

ATWOOD (voice over): Four Americans being moved out of the Iran's notorious Evin prison and joining a fifth under house arrest. Three of them Siamak

Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Shargi had been held by Iran for years.

Sources telling CNN their full freedom is part of an elaborate multinational effort involving billions of dollars in a potential prisoner

swap. Among those potential plans, giving Tehran easier access to $6 billion in Iranian funds currently held in South Korea.

A source familiar with the negotiations saying there would still be strict limitations on how that money could be used. For their part Iran also said

that five Iranian prisoners in the U.S. would be released as part of the deal.


But the Biden Administration still needs to finalize some details in the coming weeks, leaving plenty of room for something to go wrong.

JARED GENSER, LAWYER FOR SIAMAK NAMAZI: All we know now with any assurances are that they're out under house arrest. And what happens next is anyone's


ATWOOD (voice over): National Security Council Spokesperson Adrian Watson called their move to house arrest, "An encouraging step", but said that the

Biden Administration will not rest until they're back in the U.S. calling ongoing negotiations delicate. Siamak Namazi is the longest held American

prisoner arrested in 2015 and left behind in multiple deals between the U.S. and Iran that freed other Americans. His brother is telling CNN this

in 2021.

BABAK NAMAZI, BROTHER OF SIAMAK NAMAZI: Each time I saw lights at the end of the tunnel, it's turned out to be a fast moving train unfortunately.

ATWOOD (voice over): And Siamak was so desperate to get out that he courageously called CNN's Christiane Amanpour from behind bars earlier this


SIAMAK NAMAZI, U.S. CITIZEN: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

ATWOOD (voice over): Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.


ANDERSON: Well, my next guest, Jason Rezaian is Washington Post Global Opinions Columnist. He's also a CNN contributor, who has himself endured a

grueling detention in Iran. In an interview about the deal to release the detainees, he said, I'm ecstatic for them and their families, but also

remain vigilant and nervous because there is a period of time before they fly home. And anything could happen between now and then.

Well, Jason joins me via Skype from Washington. And Jomana Karadsheh, who has been all over this story for us on CNN and regularly on this show with

me here in the studio, thank you both for joining us. Let's start. Jason, and just with your thoughts, your further thoughts on where we stand at


JASON REZAIAN, POST GLOBAL OPINIONS COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Becky, I think, you know, as I indicated yesterday, it's really important.

It's a big first step towards freedom, as Secretary Blinken said, but you know, we hold our breath until folks are out of Iranian airspace.

I know from my own experience, that that the points of the deal can move and change. And it almost all fell apart for us in the final hours. So it's

a good sign, but I'm still a bit nervous for these.

ANDERSON: And we will talk about the points of the day, don't we understand those to be Jomana in a moment? Jason, I do need, do want to follow up

because Antony Blinken described this as the beginning what he hoped it would be the beginning of the end of their nightmare. You were incarcerated

for 500 days; just describe what you believe that they have been through to date.

REZAIAN: Well, I know from talking to members of their families and their legal teams out in the free world that they've been subjected to similar

treatment. As my wife and I were put in solitary confinement long hours of interrogation, cut off from the outside world, denied legal access to

lawyers inside Iran.

The subject of propaganda campaigns by Iran's state media threats to their life and in limb. I mean, you know, in my own case, I was often threatened

with the death and dismemberment. So, you know, it's, it's grueling, it's taxing, and it's going to leave a scar on their lives forever.

ANDERSON: Jomana, what do we understand to be the point of this deal, and what happens next at this point?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we don't know the details of the deal. We just know some of the most significant parts of this agreement. We

understand that the U.S. will be unfreezing $6 billion of Iranian money that is being held in accounts in South Korea. But we understand U.S.

officials are saying that this is only going to be allowed that they will only be given more access to this for humanitarian reasons that it would

not be used for anything that's under sanctions.

And that will also involve the release of five Iranian prisoners who are being held by the U.S. Now U.S. officials are indicating that we will see

these Americans wrongfully detained in Iran, some would say hostages released potentially in the next few weeks sometime in September. But as

Jason has been saying, this is a very delicate situation.

This is a very complex negotiation that we know involves third party countries that have been working really hard to try and secure these

disagreements. So anything could go wrong, but it's very important for stuff.


We've heard from the Qatari Foreign Minister speaking to Al Jazeera in the past few hours about the Qatari rule saying, that there was real intense

shuttle diplomacy going on, leading up to this announcement between both capitals, the Qataris played a big role in this.

And when it comes to the $6 billion, which everyone's trying to understand, how is this going to work? It seems that Qataris are going to be playing a

major role in this thing that they are establishing a banking channel as he described it, where it will allow for the implementation of this agreement.

So we'll have to see how this works out. So it's not a done deal as Jason who knows very well, it's not done until they're out of the country.

ANDERSON: Jomana brought up a very important point. These are five individuals who are being described as they had been wrongfully detained,

not described as hostages. And if you talk to the U.S. State Department, they won't, they will not want us to describe this as sort of hostage


But frankly, we should probably call it as it is, at this point. But that gets to the heart of my next question, I guess. And that was a big question

that we posed going into this, Jason, what does it say about the state of U.S. Iranian relations at this point? How does this play into the kind of

wider story here?

REZAIAN: Well, first of all, I want to thank you for pointing out that this is a distinction without a difference, hostage taking versus wrongful

detention. Wrongful detention just means being held hostage by a foreign state. I think, you know, the possibility of a deal opens up the

possibility of further discussions between the U.S. and Iran.

But I would also say that, you know, we are at a low point, the United States in our relations with Russia. And we continue to have negotiations

over prisoners and have done two prisoner deals in the last year, one for Trevor Reed and one for Brittney Griner. Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan

are still being held in Russia.

So I think that, you know, these governments can engage in these sorts of prisoner deals separately from larger issues. But I think it is a sign that

that Iran and the U.S. might be able to have some conversations about nuclear issue and other topics of concern to both countries.

I just don't know what kind of appetite there is for that, on the American side, especially given the ongoing protests in Iran that have raged for

almost a year.

ANDERSON: Yes. And to that point, and that is, that is the situation that you have reported on. It feels like almost daily over the last year, the

Iranian protests, and we continue to report on that, you continue to do your sourcing on that story. And it does provide another layer doesn't it

as we consider where U.S. Iranian relations are.

So we must, you know, consider what is going on, on the ground and how Washington and other, for example, European nations are responding to that.

And how that has really tarnished any potential for better relations?

KARADSHEH: It certainly has made it much harder to restart any sort of negotiations at a time, when you had the Iranian regime opening, I mean,

using violence to repress the protests. And you saw more than 500 people killed in those demonstrations, thousands who were detained. So it

certainly made it very difficult for the West to be engaging with Iran at a time like that.

And I think as Jason is saying, these are being, these are seen right now as very separate issues where they could try and resolve issues, including

prisoners, while not really dealing with the bigger issues of the time. Someone say, look, you've taken the issue of the detainees off the table,

potentially, of course, until you know, this is finalized, we'll see what happens.

But if they've taken that, this could potentially make it easier pave the way for more negotiations and more talks. But I found it very interesting,

Becky, that this happened just a few days after the U.S. announced the deployment of thousands of sailors and marines to the region, they say to

counter Iranian threats in the Strait of Hormuz.

So it's a very, very interesting time, but certainly, it looks like it could potentially pave the way to try and contain the threats that Iran

poses -- .

ANDERSON: To both of you, we thank you very much indeed. Jason, regular guest on the show and I hope you will continue to donate your invaluable

time to us, because you know, it's so important. But on this day at least let's hope that we are some way to seeing the release of those who have

been wrongfully detained.


Thank you very much indeed. We're going to be right back after this short break.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. Half past four in London, you're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. News are your headlines this hour.

Searches are using dogs to look for more wildfire victims on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The death toll there jumping to 55 overnight.

Parts of historic Lahaina were virtually wiped off the map and will likely take years to rebuild. Well, West African blog ECOWAS is now responding to

the military coup in Niger by altering the activation and deployment of a standby force restore constitutional order. ECOWAS says it is also

determined to keep all options open for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

When India announced an export ban on non-basmati white rice last month, there were fears it could trigger a global food crisis. The news reportedly

sent some Indian expats in the U.S. into panic buying mode. But American rice producers say the U.S. has enough of its own supply to go around.

CNN's Vedika Sud reports on the situation in India.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Dozens of panic stricken buyers scrambling to buy Indian rice in a store in Dallas. Just a day after India,

the world's largest exporter of rice imposed a ban on shipments exporting non-basmati rice. The USA Rice Federation says this, "Enough U.S. rice to

go around". But New Delhi's export restrictions have triggered fears of a global food crisis. India's rice supply has been hit hard after heavy rains

devastated large regions where the staple has grown crippling livelihoods.

Last month the Indian government said it was necessary to hold all exports of non-basmati rice to come domestic rising prices and ensure adequate

supply at home. In a village in north India third generation farmer Satish Kumar sits by his paddy field that's been submerged for over a month.


It's destroyed his newly planted seedlings. Farming is Kumar's only source of income. He's taken loans to re-cultivate his land. I've suffered huge

losses, he tells me, now nothing can be grown on this land till November. Here the rice export ban is a double whammy. It's going to have an adverse

impact on us, Kumar tells me, we won't get a higher rate of rice isn't exported.

The floods were a death blow to us farmers. This ban will finish us, he says. The South Asian nation accounts for more than 40 percent of world

rice exports globally. In Delhi's rice export hub, traders face uncertainty as rice stocks are piling up. The export ban has left traders with huge

amounts of stock, we now have to find new buyers in the domestic market, trader Rup Karan (ph) tells me.

SUD (on camera): Many of the world's poorest countries depend on imports of Indian rice. Economists warn a prolonged ban could lead the world's most

vulnerable people with even less to eat.

SUD (voice over): Global food prices have soared to a near 12 year high according to the United Nations Food Agency. New Delhi's ban comes in the

week after Russia's targeting of Ukrainian grain shipments driving up grain prices across the world.

ARIF HUSAIN, CHIEF ECONOMIST: Poor countries, food importing countries, poor people in West Africa, they are at the highest risk. It is about does

the food stay affordable for the poorest of the poor in countries around the world.

SUD (voice over): Almost 40 percent of the people on earth rely on rice for sustenance. A shortfall in Indian rice could lead millions hungry. Vedika

Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


ANDERSON: We are now hearing from the judge overseeing Donald Trump's 2020 election interference case. The first hearing in this case got underway in

the last hour, it involved whether a protective order was needed for some of the evidence in that case.

Well, Judge Tanya Chutkan says she will adopt rules proposed by prosecutors to limit who on Trump's team can actually access the evidence in the case.

And she rejected the former president's request that the language be broadened so that volunteers and other people not directly employed by the

defense team could review evidence.

She told Trump's team that the former president's right to free speech is not absolute. CNN is watching this story closely an important development.

Coming up next on "Connect the World" Brian Cox and Nicole Ansari-Cox is on the movement for women's rights inside Iran.



ANDERSON: It's been almost a year since protests in Iran began following the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody. Defined protesters in Iran

seeking to improve the rights of women across the country, a still dire situation as officials there seek to impose new harsh penalties on women

who do not observe the compulsory dress code.

Well, earlier, I spoke to actor Brian Cox and his wife, actor, director, Nicole Ansari-Cox who herself is half Iranian and asked them about their

activism on behalf of Iranian women.

NICOLE ANSARI-COX, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: What people are doing these days is individuals are going out without the hijab. They are putting their bodies

on the line and risking their lives for just not wearing head covering. And you see a lot of men and support for women.

So for the average, the average person in the north of Iran, north of Tehran, I hear that it looks kind of normal. But of course, you can go to

jail for 10 years by wearing the hijab wrongly. And these things, as you were saying earlier, and now inscribed in the law, before that, it wasn't

written down, but it was still happening.

So there has not been enough support worldwide for this movement. And I think it's not just in Iran, but there's a gender apartheid, that is

worldwide going hand in hand with the fascist regime coming up everywhere, including in Europe, including in the United States. That really needs to

be addressed.

ANDERSON: Brian, you've said your wife has taught you so much.

BRIAN COX, ACTOR: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: You've also said and I quote, "The patriarchy has failed". Explain what you mean by that in the context of this struggle in Iran in

the context of the world, perhaps maybe the context of Hollywood?

N. COX: I think the patriarchy has failed. I think it's been failing for a long, long time. I mean, I think the way we are treating our women is

awful. I mean, she talks about gender apartheid, and this is exactly what it is. And so therefore, I think that we we've failed miserably. It's,

it's, it seems again, and again, and again, you're seeing it. And you're seeing and of course, it also gives way to violence, which is one of the

worst aspects of it.

And I just think what happened to that poor young woman in neuronal -- what happened to her was appalling and it's just, it's idiosyncratic of where we

are in relationship to female members of society. We really are so backward, and we got to shift it. That's why the patriarch is, I think it

is dying. I think this is part of its death throes that we're in, but we have to allow it to die you know, just go away.

ANDERSON: Brian Cox and his wife. Wherever you are in the world, have a good weekend. If indeed it is your weekend coming up, stay with CNN.

Marketplace Middle East today is up next.



ELENI GIOKOS, HOST, MARKETPLACE MIDDLEWAST: Welcome to Marketplace Middle East. I'm Eleni Giokos. This month, the great global shift to the Gulf, in

the West as financial belts tighten and a liquidity crunch looms, venture capitalist firms are increasingly setting their sights on the Middle East.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of Investors have been sending us requests to meet.

GIOKOS: Plus a new chapter, luxury hotel chain Fairmont bits a deal to the global headquarters in Paris and relocates to Dubai.

MARK WILLIS, CEO, FAIRMONT HOTELS AND RESORTS: If you look at where the brand sits and where we want to take the brand, Dubai is a perfect


GIOKOS: With Western economies facing economic uncertainty, Venture Capital firms like those in Silicon Valley face a funding shortage. Now in a

strategic move, they are increasingly coming to the Middle East, building relationships with sovereign wealth funds, and even investing in tech

startups across the region.


GIOKOS (voice over): The Gulf regions 10 biggest sovereign wealth funds combined managed nearly $4 trillion, a big number that can seem attractive

to Investors. An example of this is seen through the PIF's venture arm Sanibil Investments, disclosing its collaboration with nearly 40 U.S. VCs,

including names like Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global Management, and one tech VC that has been investing in the region since 2012 with offices in

Riyadh and Dubai, 500 global.

KHALED ZAATARAH, CEO, VUZ: Hello, how are you? Great.

GIOKOS (on camera): Nice to see, is this all the magic happens.

GIOKOS (voice over): They invested in this Dubai tech startup views.

GIOKOS (on camera): Cannot turn up the music. I'm in a boxing match now.

ZAATARAH: Oh, nice. Vuz is currently the leading immersive social media platform; we bring people closer to reality. So you can teleport in time

and be at behind the scenes of a football game or a concert or a travel experience as if you're there from your phone. So you can swipe right,

left, zoom in, zoom out.

GIOKOS (voice over): Vuz says with its annual growth rate of 70 percent since it started in 2012, it is creating a lot of international investor

interest helping them raise more than $30 million dollars so far.

ZAATARAH: We have amazing Investors with us that are international that are over, some of them that have over billions of dollars assets under

management between family offices from the region between institutional VCs that are topped up. Even founders that have exited unicorns, we have maybe

four founders that have exited unicorns that are Investors at views.

We always look for, you know, strategical Investors that can add value to help us as a video and immersive video platform and social platform to

scale internationally.

GIOKOS (voice over): While global funding is taking a hit, falling more than 50 percent in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period

last year according to Business data company Crunchbase. Khaled says he isn't seeing a falloff in investor interest.

ZAATARAH: A lot of Investors have been sending us requests to meet. I was there in the U.S. a couple of months back a month back. And then I met all

the top VCs and some of them, the top VCs as well. So we see a lot of interest in the global platforms that are scaling internationally with the

new trends of tech that are innovating and building something different. That has a proper business model, right. And that's what we have been

always building upon.

GIOKOS (voice over): Among those investing in the region is well known Investor, Mark Mobius. He is a key figure in developing international

policies in emerging markets. His record shows he invested in more than 5000 company's worldwide and managed $40 billion worth of assets.


GIOKOS: I caught up with him recently to find out why international Investors are increasingly attracted to the Gulf. What is your prognosis on

the region the GCC in itself right now with the numbers that you've come across?


MARK MOBIUS, INVESTOR & FOUNDING PARTNER, MOBIUS CAPITAL PARTNERS: Well, it's going from strength to strength. And one of the great things that's

happened, of course, is that they are drawing people from all over the world. And they've been very selective. They are trying to get the very

best educated people, people who want to invest. And that's a very clever way of doing it to get new people into the area.

So that I think it's interesting that Dubai has sort of set the stage sort of an example. And now you see the countries all over the Middle East look

at Dubai and say, hey, maybe we should do the same. So you've seen Saudi Arabia now is moving very fast in that direction. And all of the Emirates

also have followed. So it's quite exciting. I think it's going to be very interesting.

GIOKOS: What market excites you the most in the region, apart from what you're seeing in the UAE and Dubai in specific?

MOBIUS: Of course, you've got to start with Saudi Arabia, because they're a big, big market. They have more liquid stocks. But I recently visited Abu

Dhabi; they've been having a very active market. And of course, Dubai is very, very good. We need to see more liquidity. And larger companies come

into the market.

And the most interesting development is how many of these family owned companies are beginning to realize that they've got to prepare for the next

generation. But that is going to be very interesting development boards.

GIOKOS: Do you think that we see momentum with regards to venture capital firms coming to the region as well?

MOBIUS: Yes, it's really interesting to see how the governments have been attracting these venture capital firms by providing them with capital in

which to invest in the region. I think that's a very important development. And there are so many entrepreneurs; you know, in the Middle East, there is

a tradition of entrepreneurship and trading.

And these venture capital companies can now come in and invest in these enterprises and do very well going forward. So I think it's going to be a

very good development and being encouraged by the governments in the region.

GIOKOS: Up next, we speak to the global CEO of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts to find out why the company chose Dubai as its new international

headquarters. But first, let's catch you up on your business calendar in your Marketplace minutes.


GIOKOS (voice over): OPEC sought a surge in oil export revenues last year, the highest in a decade. The organization of petroleum exporting countries

recorded $870 billion in oil exports. This comes amid the Russia Ukraine war and the rise in oil production levels by the more than 13 key members

of the alliance.

Despite its recent worldwide spending spree, Saudi Arabia's public investment fund took an $11 billion loss on its investment last year; the

kingdom's sovereign wealth fund manages nearly $778 billion in assets. In an effort to control spiraling inflation of nearly 40 percent, Turkey

increased its interest rate from 15 percent to 17 and a half percent seeking investment and funds to address his country's economic woes.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan toured the Gulf last month and signed several deals in Abu Dhabi believed to be worth $50 billion, while Saudi

Arabia has deposited $5 billion in the country's central bank.



GIOKOS: Welcome back to "Marketplace Middle East". Luxury hotel chain Fairmont opened its first hotel in the Middle East back in 2001. And it was

right here in Dubai. Today Fairmont has around 11 hotels in the region. Now following a restructuring in March, Fairmont decided to move its global

headquarters from Paris to here in Dubai.


WILLIS: If you look at where the brand sits and where we want to take the brands, Dubai is a perfect location. As we all know it's a great hub, great



We looked at other locations around the world; this is a super place to recruit. All the various infrastructure and support systems are here. And

it just seemed like the right choice.

GIOKOS: Was it a difficult decision?

WILLIS: No, not at all. With this restructure that's gone into place with the division that's gone into place within the organization, we decided to

move it to Dubai.

GIOKOS: In the region itself, what are you doing right now on the ground?

WILLIS: 12 operational Fairmonts just in the Middle East alone, out of a portfolio of 90 globally. We've got a strong portfolio here. On top of

that, what's super interesting is that we have a great pipeline of nine hotels coming in some key destinations. Jeddah, the Giga projects in Saudi


We have great project coming in Red Sea, wonderful Fairmont edition coming on, on Sheikh Zayed Road in skyline. So yes, I mean, from a pipeline and

growth perspective, just looks amazing here.

GIOKOS (voice over): Fairmont is part of the core group, a chain of over 5100 hotels, including Raffles, Swissotel, and Movenpick. Saudi Arabia's

Kingdom holdings and Qatar's Investment Authority hold stakes in Accor hotels of 5.8 percent and 10.5 percent respectively according to a call.

GIOKOS: Let's talk about Saudi Arabia. What is it about Saudi that is attracting you at this stage?

WILLIS: Saudi Arabia will become one of the top destinations not only for business, but also for leisure globally. They have so many things to offer,

they are also putting in an amazing infrastructure in the key destinations. On top of that, of course, they have religious tourism, going into the key

religious cities of Medina and Mecca. The future looks wonderful.

GIOKOS: I want to talk about what we've been seeing in the past few weeks. We've had incredible heat waves over the past few days that are hitting

Europe. And this is having obviously a spillover effect into the tourism industry, its having an impact on suppliers and so forth. How are you

viewing this? Are you worried?

WILLIS: As an industry we have talked a lot about the environment. But we have talked a lot and not done much, I have to say. And again, it pains me

to say so, but that is a reality. I really have to say the industry over the last five years, has tried to step forward in a very positive manner

with regards to its impact on the environment.

GIOKOS (voice over): The Accor group says its strategy to reduce emissions by 46 percent in 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

WILLIS: Accor is really walking the talk on this topic; it is on everybody's agenda. When you look at topics like the increase in

temperature in different locations, which again is unbelievable. And as an industry we really need to focus on this topic. I think it's great to see

what a core is doing. And obviously Fairmont within that infrastructure is doing in order to try and combat that situation.


GIOKOS: Well that's it for this edition of "Marketplace Middle East". If you want to take a look at other stories we cover on the program, you can

go to From me Eleni Giokos in Dubai, I'll see you next time.