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Connect the World

Raisi's Funeral; At Least Seven Killed in Russian Strikes on Kharkiv; U.S. President Joe Biden Welcomes Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House; UNICEF Says Aid Ops in Gaza Appear "Designed to Fail"; Ireland Defends Decision to Recognize Palestinian State; Trinity College Dublin to Divest from Israel; UAE Honors COP28 Climate Change Activists. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 23, 2024 - 10:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Welcome to what is our second hour of the show. I'm Becky Anderson. We're in Abu Dhabi.

Thousands of Iranians bid farewell to their late president, Ebrahim Raisi, on the final day of funeral celebrations, crowds of mourners wore black,

carried Raisi's image and packed the streets of Mashhad as they waited for him to be laid to rest.

Also in the headlines, Russia has its sights set on Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, where seven people were killed in Russian attacks.

Today, CNN goes to the front lines to show you how Ukrainian troops are protecting their city.

And former Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley making a big political U-turn. She now says she will vote for Donald Trump in November,

despite trading insults early on in the campaign.


ANDERSON: A deeply somber homecoming in Iran as the body of president Ebrahim Raisi is being laid to rest. Thousands turned out as Raisi's coffin

arrived in his hometown of Mashhad in the past few hours. The city is also a pilgrimage destination for Shia Muslims in Iran.

Further west, a funeral procession was held for Iran's foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian. He was killed with the president and six others

in Sunday's helicopter crash. A five-day mourning period is now being observed in the country. Fred Pleitgen is in Mashhad with more on president

Raisi's funeral -- Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right. (INAUDIBLE) lining the streets (INAUDIBLE) casket was

here to the Imam Reza shrine and I'm overlooking (INAUDIBLE) most on the ground (INAUDIBLE) past people (INAUDIBLE).


PLEITGEN: province. But as always, (INAUDIBLE) also with the Shrine of Imam Reza (INAUDIBLE). In fact, his father-in-law is still Friday prayers


ANDERSON: All right.

Connections with Fred are being difficult. Perhaps you'll appreciate the conditions that he is working under there.

But he has been in Tehran, watching this crowd all day. He did speak to me last hour just before the coffin entered this shrine. Here's what he told



PLEITGEN: Behind me, you can actually see the Imam Reza Shrine, which is where that coffin is going to be brought to that procession heading exactly

in that direction, of course, where there is then going to be that final funeral prayer and where he then Ebrahim Raisi will be laid to rest inside

the Imam Reza Shrine.

It is really a pretty remarkable crowd that we're seeing here on the ground, hundreds of thousands of people that appears -- obviously very

vocal, a lot of them very much in mourning.

Of course, one of the things, Becky, that we have to remind our viewers -- that this is of course one of the main pilgrimage sites here in Iran, as

you mentioned before.

But it is also in many ways, both the spiritual and also the political homeland of Ebrahim Raisi, comes from the south and protests on province

and, of course, today already a procession in the town of -- But he's also very much affiliated with the Imam Reza Shrine. His father in law is still

is the prayer leader here at the Imam Reza shrine.

And also, Ebrahim Raisi himself had some functions at that tribe as well.


ANDERSON: In fact that was Fred Pleitgen speaking to us earlier, as we continue to watch those images out of Mashhad, where the time is 5:33 in

the evening.

Well, at least seven people have been killed after a wave of Russian strikes pummeled several locations in Kharkiv. Officials say 23 others were

injured in those strikes on what is Ukraine's second largest city, where Russian forces have stepped up their attacks on the northwestern region,

taking advantage of a weakened front line.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has blamed the recent attacks on a lack of air defenses. Well, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from

Eastern Ukraine.


And Nick, what have you been witnessing?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kharkiv this morning, even we could feel, from kilometers away, the force

of those 15 missiles landing in two locations. One of them we know seems to be a printing press.

Now we went to -- we think is that area near a railway line; saw several craters outside the compound, smoke emerging from there, firefighters still

taking cover because a common tactic now of Russian forces has been what's known as the double tap missile.

One missile hits the target and then, minutes later when first responders are in place, trying to rescue, trying to deliver care, another missile

comes in, simply to, I think restricts Ukraine's ability to deal with situations like that and spark horror amongst people.

That was particularly effective in Kharkiv. Today seven dead; you mentioned 23 injured. Those noises ringing out across the city of over 1 million,

increasingly common, frankly. Just at the weekend, seven killed at another double tap missile attack at a lakeside resort outside of the city.

Putin's push now over two weeks old, down toward the second city of Ukraine, Kharkiv, aimed at draining forces from the front lines in the

east, where I am here, to the north, to try and keep those forces back.

But they are persistent and Moscow does seem to be getting closer and closer to the places it needs so that it can essentially fire artillery

into Kharkiv, will causing enormous devastation. Here's one of the fights we saw for a key town that Ukraine must hold on to stop that happening.


WALSH (voice-over): Some towns they can never let Putin take and this, Lyptsi, is one of them.

Destroyed artillery on the streets, homes aflame from an airstrike. They can only move at night.

WALSH: Lights off.

WALSH (voice-over): It's a perilous grip they keep but lose here and Russian artillery will be in range of Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv.

WALSH: You can still smell the smoke here from an airstrike that landed just in the last hour or so.

WALSH (voice-over): This is life under the drone. We're the first reporters into the heart of the town.

Only soldiers left here underground. The Khartia 13th National Guard first tackled Russia's new offensive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): You saw how it's all burning. It's like that every night.

WALSH: Do you think there were good enough fortifications here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Nothing was prepared here. Nothing. Just nothing. All the positions are being built by the hands of the

infantry. The Russians are trained professional soldiers. We can see it from their equipment, from their tactics.

WALSH (voice-over): There were eight airstrikes just in the last hour, so we leave soon.

A buzzing noise near us very close. And the only way they know whose drone this is, is if it attacks.

WALSH (from captions): Is it your drone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Who knows?

WALSH (voice-over): All around Kharkiv, they don't have enough guns. And the Russians have too many drones.

The 92nd Assault Brigade show us something that isn't even theirs.

WALSH: A Russian artillery piece that they captured in the first year of the war in the fighting in Kharkiv region. And now they use, strangely,

French mortar rounds to fire from here. It's just a sign of how little appropriate ammunition they have available to them.

This wire is a protection from FPV drones.

WALSH (voice-over): Above, he sees a drone with two battery packs, a long- range scout.

WALSH: Basement.

WALSH (voice-over): It is not friendly. If you can tell it's an attack drone, hide.

This seems to be a scout, so running is better before it calls in shelling.

Another artillery unit wants to show us something not even Russian but Soviet. Made in the 1940s, it can still fire newer Polish shells. In the

autumn, it was 100 a day. Now it is 10.

WALSH: Extraordinary to see something here that's three times the age of either of these two guys, holding back a new Russian offensive in 2024. I

see the metal's so old that it limits the number of times.

WALSH (voice-over): That sound warns another drone is incoming.

And back in the bunker, they show us the online-bought $30 gadget that is their best warning mechanism.

The team here embody Ukraine's exhaustion and resilience. Older guys, wounded infantry men.

Artur (ph) has drone shrapnel in his arm still.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Moving toward Lozova?

ARTUR (PH), UKRAINIAN MILITARY (from captions): Yes, yes.

Orlan. Don't go out at all for now.

WALSH: Just saw an Orlan Russian drone passing overhead. So saying, better stay inside.


WALSH (voice-over): On the way back into the city, we see what fuels this defense. This was a lakeside resort. Football, cocktails, a beach.

WALSH: Extraordinary devastation. And they're here to collect the bodies.

WALSH (voice-over): A seven-month pregnant woman was among the seven dead here. Another body found later, just fragments in the mulch.

Russia's advance looms over whatever life persists here, belching out over homes.

The dark is little salvation. This may be a drone being hit but they kill, too, when they crash in failure.

Flares breach the enforced blackout. Moscow is getting nearer again and there are always too many blasts before dawn.


WALSH: Now make no mistake about the Russian patience and persistence on the battlefield. It may not be in the headlines but that is essentially

what the Kremlin is counting on, the world to be distracted, to look away elsewhere for the promises of aid to be echoing but not necessarily in

Ukrainian hands just yet.

And to keep pushing forward. In Kharkiv today, feeling that very brutally, Becky.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you, Nick. Thank you very much indeed.

Want to get you to Washington. Happening now, U.S. President Joe Biden and the first lady are welcoming Kenyan president William Ruto and his wife to

the White House here on the South Lawn for a state arrival ceremony.

And you see images there of Joe Biden shaking hands with the traveling delegation with William Ruto. The Kenyan leader's trip is the sixth state

visit hosted by the U.S. president. And the first for an African president since 2008.

This is an important time for the U.S. and Kenya. There has been a real effort now for some time, that essential factor in where the U.S. stands at

present is its lack of influence or certainly its competitive needs in Africa to counter Chinese influence there.

So this is a very important trip and, frankly, the Kenyan president gaining in influence and bringing his country with him on the world stage. Let's

listen in.


ANDERSON: As we listen to the national anthems, Priscilla Alvarez joins us now from the White House.

This is an important time, Joe Biden leaning on the highest trappings of American diplomacy this week, to boost eyes with the East African nation.

Just explain the significance and the needs as far as Joe Biden's administration is concerned, Priscilla.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Becky, and looming over all of this pomp and circumstance that you see around me is

China's influence in Africa.

Of course, the U.S. and China have been jockeying for economic and geopolitical influence in the region. And they're looking Kenya to continue

to shore up support, trying to counter China's influence, particularly because China has given high interest loans and Africa is now servicing


And they are looking for assistance on the economic front. In fact, one of the issues that they're going to be talking about over this visit is

private sector investments. Just yesterday, the two leaders meeting with private sector in a meeting.

Of course, there are other issues that they're going to be talking about as well, including elevating Kenya from a regional partner to a global

partner, as well as the importance of democracy. And they will announce commitments to all of that.

For example, they're going to unveil a document known as the Nairobi and Washington Vision. And the idea here is to call on creditors to try to

alleviate the financial burden then.

Too, President Biden is going to designate Kenya as a major non-NATO ally. So if you look at all of this in totality, it is to shore up that

partnership and cooperation with Kenya as they continue to keep a focus on that region.

And we should note, Becky, that in 2022, President Biden said, quote, he is "all in on Africa." But he never visited and that, in some ways, this is

also making up for a broken promise, given all of the foreign conflicts that the president has had to deal with here.


So this visit really an opportunity for the two leaders to spend time discussing all of these very important issues as they keep that partnership

of the East African nation.

ANDERSON: And you're right to point out that the United States plans to designate Kenya as the first key non-NATO ally in sub-Saharan Africa during

this visit. I mean, just explain to us the significance of that move, if you will.

ALVAREZ: Well, it will allow more cooperation on the military front in defense, defense industry. This would allow or pave the way for that, we

should say. And that's important, particularly given that the administration wants to show Kenya that it cares about its partnership and


And Becky, I think it's also important to note that the U.S. has found itself in some moments quite isolated from the global stage when it comes

with support of Israel. And we've seen that among some African nations.

So it's so important for them to keep that partnership with Kenya, as that war wages on.


Priscilla, we have the national anthems. Let's just listen in to what is going on on that lawn at the White House. We are expecting to hear from

both leaders.

All right. Perhaps we're not. Let's take a break and we will come back to this.




ANDERSON: Welcome back, 18 minutes past 6 here in the UAE, 18 minutes past 10 in Washington. We will get you back there as and when.

Israel's army says it has helped with the transfer of 27 aid trucks into Gaza via a U.S. installed temporary pier. It says the trucks carrying 371

pallets of humanitarian assistance were moved to a logistics center.

But this comes amid growing concerns that the aid simply isn't getting to the hands of the people who need it. And that is those who are starving in

Gaza. UNICEF telling CNN, it appears that aid operations in Gaza are, quote, "designed and destined to fail."

Well, I spoke to the outgoing U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, Martin Griffiths, this time yesterday. His

career in humanitarian work spans some 50 years.


This is as bad as he has ever known it. Here's what he told me about aid getting into Gaza.


MARTIN GRIFFITHS, U.N. UNDERSECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: The truth, however, today is that aid is not going to the people,

particularly in the south. We've had 800,000 people displaced in Rafah in the last 10 days.

It's an extraordinary figure. There's nowhere safe to go to. The two crossing points for the south, Rafah and Kerem Shalom, are essentially

blocked, one completely and the other.


GRIFFITHS: Well, there is a dispute on Rafah. It's between Egypt and Israel and Kerem Shalom. Trucks are getting in but limited and the priority

is given to the private sector coming in, which is good. But most people can't afford those goods.

So they're -- and we can't get to our warehouses in Rafah because of the operation. And fuel is inadequate to move supplies. The result of all this

right now, Becky, is that the aid agency is grinding to a halt. The aid program is grinding to a halt there.


ANDERSON: That's the reality on the ground. All of this, as Israel says its war cabinet has directed negotiators to resume talks on a ceasefire and

hostages, to try and secure the release of those hostages in Gaza.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live in Jerusalem with the very latest.

What do we know at this point, Jeremy?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the Israeli war cabinet now agreeing to allow the Israeli negotiating team to resume talks over a

potential ceasefire and hostage agreement. That -- there's no clear sense of exactly where that will lead as you well know.

Those negotiations have been stalled over the last few weeks since talks last broke down over that Egyptian framework agreement. We reported earlier

this week, of course, that the Egyptians seemed to have offered -- come up with one proposal with the Israelis and then quietly made changes to that


Submitting it to Hamas, leaving a lot of the other mediators unclear on what Hamas had agreed to when they came out with that agreement, saying

that they had reached a ceasefire deal.

It only later became clear that the Egyptians had actually made -- quietly made changes to that proposal in order to try and get Hamas' sign-off. And

that was a considerable problem leading to the current impasse.

But of course, the reality is that it is the substance as well, where these two sides, Israel and Hamas, still remain very far apart; in particular,

over Hamas' insistence that this round of negotiations lead to a permanent end to the war in a second phase of an eventual agreement.

Now as all of this is happening, we're still watching the start-and-stop efforts to get sufficient humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. That Rafah

border crossing still remains closed.

And we're also watching as that floating pier that the U.S. military anchored to the shore of the Gaza coastline last week is having trouble

getting up off the ground in terms of the amount of aid that the U.S. had expected could get in through that pier.

They had talked about some 90 trucks. It has slowly started to ramp up with the Israeli military saying that, yesterday, 27 trucks entered Gaza via

that floating pier. That included 371 pallets of humanitarian aid.

The Israeli military also says that 281 trucks were processed via the Kerem Shalom crossing as well as the Western Erez crossing, which is in the

northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Those numbers have been disputed, however, by humanitarian aid groups who say that, even if those aid trucks are making it through the security

checks to the other side of the Gaza border, that doesn't necessarily mean that aid groups are able to actually go and pick those trucks up and begin

to distribute them throughout the Gaza Strip.

So as we have watched about 1 million people being displaced over the course of the last several weeks, humanitarian aid groups say that there

has been -- have been significant difficulties in getting that aid not only into Gaza but then getting it to the people who need it the most.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Jeremy.

Jeremy is in Jerusalem for you. Let me get you back to the White House. U.S. President Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcoming Kenyan president

William Ruto and his wife to the White House. This is a state visit. Let's listen to what the two leaders have to say.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- that lie at the heart of our democracies. And I see it every day as president, as our two proud

democracies continue to draw from the power of the people and the strength of our diversity to write the next chapter in our partnership.

Together, United States and Kenya are working to deliver on the challenges that matter most to our people's lives.


Health security, economic security, cybersecurity and climate security.

Mr. President, your bold leadership on this front has been an important and significantly impactful; 90 percent of Kenyans' electricity comes from

clean energy, 90 percent.


BIDEN: That scores an applause.

Over 1 million homes are powered by wind energy alone.

That's worth applause, too.


BIDEN: An historic Africa green industrialization initiative, which you launched last year, is poised to create similar results in so many other

nations, particularly in the continent.

Across the region Kenya and America are driving a race to the top with investments that we have and high standards for workers, technology and

environment. And we're working to ensure debt doesn't leave these critical investments and crucial investments out of reach for low and middle-income


Around the world, Kenya and America are also standing united against the terror of ISIS and Al-Shabaab perpetrate in East Africa -- that they

continue to perpetrate in East Africa.

The aggression that Russia is inflicting on Ukraine, the violence that has toppled too many democracies across both our regions, and today, as we

began the next decade of our partnership, we've launched a new initiative to bring our countries, companies and communities closer together.

Because the past is our proof that we are stronger and the world is safer when Kenya and the United States work together.


BIDEN: Let me close with this.

We stand at an inflection point in history, where the decisions we make now will determine the course of our future for decades to come. Today, I'm an

optimistic and hopeful as I was those years ago, when Kenya patriots raised that new flag high in the midnight sky.

Because Kenya and the United States stand together, committed to each other, committed to our people and committed to building a better world,

one of greater opportunity, dignity, security and liberty for all Americans, for all Kenyans.

God bless our partnership. And may God bless our troops. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Distinguished guests, the President of the Republic of Kenya.



President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Madam Vice President, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, jumbo.

Let me take this opportunity in a very special way to bring you warm greetings from the people, the government of Kenya and your brothers and

sisters across the African continent.


RUTO: I want to thank President Biden for extending an invitation to me to undertake this state visit, a sign of friendship and partnership and

collaboration between two countries that share common values of freedom, democracy, rule of law, equality and inclusivity.

We are very proud democratic nation and today, as we celebrate our past, we are optimistic about our future that, by undertaking this state visit, we

will have the opportunity to discuss and to have a conversation about building global partnership and leadership around the issues that pose

challenges regionally, globally.

And in countries like Kenya and many others, challenges of climate change, challenges of insecurity, challenges around debt distress and, today, we

have an occasion to build synergies to build partnerships that will not only solve our current problems.


But also to build a future that is much more promising, much more prosperous, fairer, freer, healthier and a much more prosperous future. I

am confident.


RUTO: I am confident, Mr. President, that a partnership between the United States of America and Kenya will give us the solutions that the world so

seriously needs.

And we will be discussing a range of issues, from peace and security in our region, recognizing the heavy lifting Kenya is doing in supporting peace

and security efforts in the Horn of Africa, in the Great Lakes (ph) region.

And I want to say, Mr. President, we value that support, the friendship and the collaboration the United States has given Kenya and our region to make

sure that we undertake our responsibilities in securing our region.


ANDERSON: William Ruto, the president of Kenya, today on the South Lawn of the White House on what is a state visit. This is quite a historic moment

and both those leaders talking about the importance of the values and the ideology that they share of democracy.

And about charting away toward a very important trip for the Biden administration, who are looking for some influence in Africa, to counter

Chinese influence there. They see Kenya as a very good partner. And there are a number of significant partnerships that are being announced during

what is this three-day state visit by William Ruto.

Good to see him there on the South Lawn. All right. We're going to take a very short break, back after this.





ANDERSON: Well, the coffin of Iran's president has arrived at his hometown of Mashhad. Ebrahim Raisi is being laid to rest there in northeast Iran.

Today he was skilled in a helicopter crashed on Sunday alongside the country's foreign minister and other officials.

Funeral ceremonies for the late president have been running since Tuesday. We'll bring in Iran expert Barbara Slavin now.

As we consider these images that we've been watching now for a number of days, the country or certainly some of those in the country mourning the

loss of president Raisi. And the streets are full.

But it seems there have been meetings on the sidelines with regional partners and also regional proxies. There's certainly no indication that

the regime has sort of ground to our whole, that there is -- clearly work goes on.

Those dignitaries in to pay their respects, of course, but sideline diplomatic work clearly continues.

Do you think -- is your sense, as we look at some of these images of who has been in attendance -- that there is an opportunity here for further

regional cooperation?

BARBARA SLAVIN, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, STIMSON CENTER: Well, first of all, thank you very much for having me.

I'm not so sure about that. I think this is a rather fragile and fraught time in Iran. This obviously was not expected, appears to have been an


And there is jockeying that's going on for the presidency. There'll be elections on June the 28th. And also to succeed the real leader of Iran,

supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi was considered a leading contender for that.

So I think that this is a time when Iran's neighbors want to reassure Iran, want to make sure that they're not the victims of any aggression from Iran.

If you're from Hamas or Hezbollah or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, you want to make sure those relationships are still intact.

There were a couple of surprises for me. I didn't expect the president of Tunisia to go to Iran. I thought that was rather strange, since he's a

known anti-Islamicist -- or at least he has been.

And the foreign minister of Egypt, I thought that was interesting. That was also unusual because Egypt and Iran, I believe, have had still not restored

normal diplomatic relations. But otherwise pretty much par for the course.

ANDERSON: It was interesting; I was speaking to Sameh Shoukry just recently after the exchanges, as it were, between Iran and Israel, the

Israeli attack on the Saudi uranium site in Syria.

And then the back-and-forth, a tit-for-tat -- perhaps we'll call it that. And it was interesting that he noted that he had been in touch with the

Iranians, as others had around the region, in the 72 hours before the Iranian strikes on Israel, to try and ensure that things didn't escalate

out of control.

I also thought it was interesting to see him in attendance. We've certainly seen an outward showing of fellowship by regional countries, like where I

am here, the UAE, and Saudi, for example, who have, just in the past 18 months, realigned. There's been a rapprochement with Tehran.

I wonder whether this is as much about optics, then, as it is about anything else, a message to Western countries and Israel, showing this

outward sense of solidarity around the region.

SLAVIN: Yes, I think so.

It's also a message to Iran's own people, who are, despite the huge crowds that we've seen of mourning Raisi, are not very happy with their

government. And they've shown this by record low turnout in recent elections; protests, of course, that we saw back in 2022 and 2023. So this

is the regime marshaling all of its forces.

It's based, come out in a show of solidarity. And there're also a lot of ordinary Iranians who were shocked by the death of Raisi in a helicopter

crash. And of course, this kind of public mourning is very much in Iran's DNA. It's both something that the Islamic Republic has encouraged.

And it's also part of religious festivals commemorations like the -- like Ashura, which commemorates the death of the imam Husayn. Iranians are used

to coming out in public to mourn.

ANDERSON: Barbara, getting back to where we started this conversation and what happens next.


We now know that there will be elections at the end of June for a new president. The Stimson Center published a piece speculating on who may

take Raisi's place as not just president but as this potential successor to the supreme leader.

Because it is ultimately the supreme leader who sets the ideological direction of the country and, with the security apparatus, holds the

national security file. So when we're talking about what happens, not just domestically but on a foreign policy basis, we look to the supreme leader

and the IRGC to kind of set that tone.

I wonder whether the accession -- or the succession, I'm sorry -- for supreme leader, who, of course, is 85 years old an ailing, will be

something that will be addressed right away.

Will there be any indication to the supreme leader's thinking over the next few months?

SLAVIN: Well, we have to look and see who is allowed to run for president to succeed Raisi.

That will give us some indications of perhaps what the regime is thinking, whether it wants to try to widen its base or whether it's content to keep

this a kind of closed game among hardliners.

We also have to look to a body called the assembly of experts, which nominally chooses the supreme leader when one passes away. And they just

had elections -- excuse me -- for the assembly of experts.

We have some old faces and some new faces moving up in that body. I think we mentioned in our piece a man named Ali Reza al-Rafi, who is a cleric,

who is well-established in the system and is now the deputy head of the management body for the assembly of experts.

And of course, there are others. People always mention Khamenei's second son, Mojtaba, although to allow him to become supreme leader would make the

Islamic Republic look an awful lot like the monarchy that it replaced in 1979.

So I think a lot of people still have doubts about Mojtaba.

ANDERSON: Barbara, it's good to have you. Thank you very much for making the time.

As we continue to watch these images coming out of Mashhad t in Iran, thank you.

Going to take a very short break, back after this.





MICHEAL MARTIN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER AND FORMER TAOISEACH, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: There is a growing impatience with the lack of any political will

on behalf of Israel toward a political track and toward realizing that, in our view, a two-state solution is the only way that Israelis and

Palestinians can live in harmony. side-by-side.

That's ultimately the way forward.


There cannot just be a military solution to such a complex issue in terms of nationhood, identity and an absence of conflict.


ANDERSON: Well, Ireland's foreign minister there, defending the decision to recognize a Palestinian state, a decision that was announced earlier

this week.

And students around the world, of course, have been staging protests about the ongoing war in Gaza. And at Ireland's top university, demonstrators

made a rare achievement, persuading authorities, university authorities, to cut some financial ties with Israel.

Unlike many campuses in the United States and elsewhere around the world, protests in Dublin ended peacefully without any police involvement.

One of our students in the CNN Academy at University College Dublin, Kathy Rose O'Brien, was on the ground and filed this report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all Palestinians.

KATHY ROSE O'BRIEN, CNN ACADEMY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These were the scenes at Trinity College Dublin in early May.

The now familiar sight of anti-war and pro-Palestinian student protests and encampments, which have taken over university campuses across the globe.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): Less familiar, protests peacefully ending as they began, with singing, painting and celebrations over a world first: a

university agreeing to meet protester demands and divesting financially from Israel.

KATE HENSHAW, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "TRINITY NEWS": It's far more likely in Ireland that you were -- you will come to the table and sit down and have a

discussion with somebody, rather than, you know, interventions, be them, you know, civil or violent interventions.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): The encampments initially sprang up after the university issued a fine of more than $230,000 to its students union

because previous student protests over other issues blocked entry to the famous Book of Kells.

A major tourist attraction and revenue generator for the university, which welcomes more than 1 million paying visitors every year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Book of Kells is quite the cash cow for our university. In five days we brought the college to the negotiating table

and five days all it took to get our university to commit to cutting ties with apartheid Israel.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): The day after the encampment was set up, public solidarity protests took hold of the street outside the gates of Trinity.

The Monday after saw the first meeting between Trinity, the students' union and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement or BDS.

And only five days since the encampment began, Trinity gave in to student demands and announced it would divest financially from Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They should be listening to their community, which is not tourists, which is not the companies they invest in but it is the

students and their staff (ph).

O'BRIEN (voice-over): A poll of nearly 1,400 students, conducted by college newspaper "Trinity News," showed over 80 percent were in support of

the encampment. However some Jewish students have voiced concern about the atmosphere on campus and how quickly Trinity gave into demands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a complex situation that has multiple sides to it, that has multiple actors in it. All the parties involved can be

criticized. And there's an unfair criticism shown toward one side, whereas the other isn't really talked about.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Trinity says, it, quote, "abhors and condemns the disproportionate onslaught in Gaza," and has also decried Hamas' attacks on

October 7th.

The students union and BDS say they will closely monitor the outcome of the task force and ensure the university sticks to its promises while the

original fine against the students union has now been dropped.

They hope to inspire other universities to divest, aware that not many have a prized asset, such as the Book of Kells -- Kathy Rose O'Brien, CNN

Academy, Dublin.


ANDERSON: And worth noting much of the footage in that piece captured by university students in what has been a real student-driven story.

Well, while Trinity College Dublin has declined to disclose the amount it has invested in Israeli companies, a Trinity spokesperson told CNN, part of

its endowment fund is held in indexed funds.

Which include 13 Israeli companies, three of which are noted on a U.N. Human Rights Council document of companies involved in Israeli settlements

in the occupied Palestinian Territories. The spokesperson explained those blacklisted companies will be divested from by June.


And Trinity will set up a task force to consider total financial divestment.

We're back after a quick break. Stay with us.




ANDERSON: We all know that the need for global climate action grows more critical with each passing day.

But some historic benchmarks were set late last year here in the UAE at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai. Well, now the United Arab Emirates is

honoring those who helped achieve this success. My colleague, CNN's Eleni Giokos, speaks with several of them, who insist their work is far from



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there's so decided.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the moment COP28 made history in December 2023. For the first time, language on

transitioning away from fossil fuels was included in the final declaration, known as the UAE Consensus.

The men and women advocating for tougher climate goals are back in the UAE for recognition of their work; 21 dignitaries were awarded the First Class

Order of Zayed II, named after the first president of the UAE.

Former U.S. secretary of state and former U.S. climate envoy John Kerry says he's receiving this award at a time where urgency is needed.

GIOKOS: You know, you're posing the question, a really important one. Yes, we signed it off on paper.

But can we get it done in time?

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE: No. We're not getting it done in time. At the current pace, we are going to blow through

1.5 degrees and we're going to head somewhere around 2.5.

Can we do it, technically?

Yes, technically.

Are we doing it in terms of our data?

Our behavior?


So we've got to turn this around. COP28 advised the world. And now the world has to step up and make this happen. And people are tired of the

words, they're tired of hypocrisy, they're tired of gamesmanship.

GIOKOS: In 2017, then president Donald Trump ceased working on the Paris agreement. So the U.S. was essentially not part of the climate agenda

anymore. President Biden signed up once again.

This is an election year in the United States.

Is there a risk in terms of the U.S.' climate agenda going forward, if Donald Trump becomes president again?

KERRY: Well, he has already said, and this is his words, his policy.

He said he's going to pull out of the Paris agreement again. And he's not going to support some of the kinds of projects that new technology that are

needed. That is, I think, a very dangerous direction to move our nation.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Vera Songwe from the Brookings Institution says, this recognition is a sign that countries are not just moving on but also

doubling down on their climate commitments.

VERA SONGWE, AFRICA GROWTH INITIATIVE, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: One would have just thought we're done with the COP; we'll move on. We'll go to the

next thing.

But I think the fact that we are still talking -- today, we had conversations about what more needs to be done, building on the UAE

Consensus, understanding whether all those pledges are actually beginning to deliver, how we can make them more effective.

GIOKOS: You've spoken about the gaps that exist.

How do we close those gaps?

SONGWE: The truth is, to close those gaps, we need three things.


Essentially, we need a lot more resources going to the multilateral development system, because we need concessional financing.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Perhaps the most poignant moment came when Professor Saleemul Huq, one of the pioneers of the loss and damage fund, was

posthumously honored.

Professor Huq passed away at 71 in October 2023, just one month before COP28. His wife, son and daughter accepted their father's award.

GIOKOS: What does this award means to you and what do you think it would've meant to your father?


have taken this as a very, very monumental occasion in the sense that it started off with funding being pledged immediately.

He would celebrate on that evening and a day and then, the next morning, he'd wake up and say, OK, now we've to get the money down to where it needs

to go. And it needs to go down to marginalized communities.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Now the fight to turn pledges and promises into action, with experts warning the clock is ticking and the world must act

now -- Eleni Giokos, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


ANDERSON: That's it for CONNECT THE WORLD today, at least. Please stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next. From the team working with me here in Abu

Dhabi, it's a very good evening.