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One World with Zain Asher
Nightmare Ends For Five Americans In Iranian Custody; Devastating Floods In The Libyan Coast And City Of Derna Leaves Nearly 4000 Lives Lost, 9000 Still Missing; European Commission Chief And Italian Prime Minister Say They're Working To Resolve The Migrant Crisis Facing The Island Of Lampedusa; Hunter Biden Sues IRS; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Begins A Busy Week In The U.S.; Five Americans Set To Fly Back To U.S. After Years-Long Ordeal In Iran; Russell Brand's Upcoming Live Theatre Royal Windsor Postponed Amid Sexual Assault Allegations. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired September 18, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and a very warm welcome everyone. I'm Isa Suarez coming to you live from London and this is One World. The
nightmare is over for five Americans who have been in Iranian custody for years. The five landed in Doha, Qatar, a bit earlier from Tehran.
Their release is part of a wider deal between the United States and Iran. They will eventually be flown to Washington D.C. The deal also includes the
release of five Iranians being held in the United States. Two of them have already arrived in Doha.
We've been told two others are staying in the United States, the others going to a third country. In addition, $6 billion in Iranian funds have
been unfrozen with the caveat that the money can only be used for humanitarian purposes.
Meantime, the Biden administration is imposing new sanctions. They target Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The top U.S. diplomat spoke about the release of the American prisons just a short time ago. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: Today, their freedom, the freedom of these Americans for so long, unjustly imprisoned and detained in Iran,
means some pretty basic things. It means that husbands and wives, fathers and children, grandparents can hug each other again, can see each other
again, can be with each other again. So, it's a day that I'm grateful for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, we are covering all the angles for you. Natasha Bertrand is in Washington, D.C. for us. We'll begin with CNN's International Diplomatic
Editor Nic Robertson who joins me here in London. And Nic, it was a complex deal, as we all know. But putting the politics aside for us at the moment,
this is a human story and a momentous day for these families, as we heard there from Secretary Blinken.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Momentous, and I don't think we can simply put it into words. One of those released here, Siamak
Namazi, the one who was held longest for eight years, his lawyer released a statement on his behalf.
And I think just a couple of the headline points from that statement really tell you what you need to know but I'll explain even that isn't enough --
2,898 days he was there, he said he spoke about those that had left behind and he singled out Ahmad Reza Djalali, Swedish Iranian physician who's been
in jail for seven and a half years.
So, even in his own freedom, he is talking about those that have been left behind, singling out somebody who's going through the hell that he went
through, and sort of looking ahead, the statement said, you know, right after he gets to the United States, he'll have a few days of medical
evaluations and treatment, and then he really needs to have, he expects some quiet time with his family. That's what he's going to need.
And I think that will reflect broadly what they all feel having been released. It's hard for us to describe that. His lawyer did actually speak
to CNN and did describe, you know, one of the horrendous moments where his father, who'd been encouraged by the Iranians to come to Iran to help him,
was also locked up and he was told at one point that his father had died and then a week later told that his father was still alive.
So, the mental anguish they've been through and what they can experience now is hard for us to comprehend, but I think when you wrap it up, a huge
day, and as you say with a very, very complex set of lengthy negotiations over several years, eight different rounds of negotiations that the Qataris
played middleman between the Iranians and the United States. So hard to get to this very, very emotional day.
SOARES: Yeah, indeed. I mean Natasha, this deal isn't without controversy so talk to us about how that money, those funds that Iranian money that
have been unfrozen now is being perceived in the United States and in particular across the political aisle here.
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Isa, this is really the most controversial aspect of this deal.
Because as we saw, the U.S. did agree to release five Iranian prisoners from U.S. custody, but those are all non-violent offenders, people who have
been convicted or were charged with things related to, for example, violating export controls or violating sanctions. So, that was not
necessarily very controversial.
But the $6 billion in funds that the administration has agreed to allow to be transferred to Qatar to then be dispersed for humanitarian reasons for
Iran, that is really garnering a lot of anxiety among Republicans, to say the least.
A lot of backlash, and we have seen over the last several weeks that Republicans have essentially equated that $6 billion to a ransom payment
and say that that is essentially going to make Iran more willing to kidnap Americans because they're going to get rewards like this in return.
Now, the administration says, look, this is not money that is going to be going straight into Iranian coffers, and they are not going to be able to
use it for anything other than humanitarian supplies, things like food, medicine, agricultural devices, and importantly, that each disbursement of
these funds from that Qatari bank, they will be closely monitored and they will be overseen by the Quataris, as well as by the U.S. Treasury
And if there are any signs that Iran has managed to somehow use that money for anything other than humanitarian goods, then the administration says
that the U.S. and the Qataris will cut that funding off.
So, according to the U.S. government, there are quite a lot of checks on these funds and on the provision of this money to the Iranians. They will
not be able to use it to continue to fund terrorism, for example, or their nuclear program, but still, expect Republicans to really use this as a
politically divisive issue that they can really get the administration on, especially when it comes to a country that has not in the past proven to
negotiate in good faith with the United States, Isa.
SOARES: Yeah, especially with election around the corner. And Nic, it doesn't seem, from what I've heard so far, this is any sort of reproach
mode, at least not from the U.S. side, from what I heard from John Kirby. But does it change? Will it change, Nic, at all, the relationship here?
ROBERTSON: It's bound to change it fractionally because a little bit of the tension and the heat comes out at a personal level because these are
Americans who've been returned home. So, something is done there.
But as John Kirby says, this isn't anything that can be considered as a sort of a building block for something else. And I think we've got a sense
of that today, when the United States, the White House, announced more sanctions on Iran's interior ministry and Ahmadinejad, the former president
there. And we had this in the lead up to where we are today.
Just last week, the United States announced other sanctions on 25 different Iranians, senior figures within the IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Corps, within the law enforcement bodies and the head of prisons, as well.
So, the United States is very clear in continuing to target those that it feels are, you know, are responsible for injustices and specifically around
the case of these hostages are sanctioning the head of the prisons just last week.
So, there's no let-up in the pressure. We heard similar things coming from the British, the French, the Germans over the issue of nuclear sanctions on
Iran for its nuclear activities and we heard very tough language.
Really tough diplomatic language from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency last week calling Iran out for effectively banning access for
a third of its inspectors, which is part of the agreement that Iran agreed to back in 2015. So, this is not bringing the Western world closer to Iran,
but it is setting aside a contentious and personal issue.
SOARES: Indeed. Our Nic Robertson and Natasha Bertrand, thank you to you both. And there's so much more for us to discuss on this story a bit later,
in about 20 minutes or so. Becky Anderson will join me from the scene in Doha.
Well, more than one week after deadly floods devastated the Libyan coast and city of Derna, families are coping with unbearable loss. The United
Nations has revised a previous death toll downward and now cites a World Health Organization figure of nearly 4000 lives lost in the disaster. More
than 9000 people, though, are still missing.
As overwhelmed crews work to recover the dead, the International Rescue Committee is warning about an impending public health crisis. The floods
have contaminated water sources of sewage, making it unsafe to consume.
Well, the city of Derna was decimated after two dams broke during the storm, washing entire neighborhood's out to sea.
Our Jomana Karadsheh is on the scene in Derna and reports from the grief- stricken city.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's all gone, they say. Derna is now a city of the dead. There was no time for
final goodbyes here. Mom, rest in peace, spray painted where that mother once lived. In 90 minutes, a city and its people were left shattered.
Here, grief lingers in the air. And faces tell of the horror they survived and lost they have yet to comprehend. Akram lost his brother's entire
family. He now sits where their house once stood. It's all he has left of them.
I lost my brother and his children. I lost my neighbors. I lost my whole world, he says. He searched for their bodies everywhere, in hospitals and
by the sea. Akram breaks down as he tries to remember his last call with his brother just two days before the catastrophe struck. He says this is
God's will. It's a harsh one they've had to accept.
Everyone here has lost family. One after the other, they share their gut- wrenching stories. Stone-faced and numb, Abdullah recalls how he held his 10-year-old son and jumped from one rooftop to another to escape the
ferocious flood. He helped save families, but couldn't save his own.
Abdullah lost his mother, his wife, and his two other boys, 25 family members in total. But he's only buried four. Everyone here is on a mission
to find the dead. There aren't enough search and rescue teams. It's mostly volunteers digging through the muddy rubble of these homes. They call
passersby to join.
KARADSHEH (on-camera): They believe there is one or more dead bodies underneath the rubble. They say they can smell it.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): But most of the bodies are not here, officials say. Thousands were swept away with their homes and in their cars into the
Mediterranean. Dernas' idyllic seafront is now a staging area where they deliver the dead.
Radia has not had time to process what she's survived. She's been here since last Monday preparing the dead for burial. This is the hardest thing
she's ever had to do, she says. She's recognized the lifeless faces of family, friends and neighbors.
Is this Derna? It will forever be heart-broken, she says. We lost our finest. People used to come and look at our flowers, our jasmine. Now, they
come to a broken Derna. At a cemetery outside the city where more than a thousand victims have been buried in mass graves, they prepare for more. No
family here, just strangers who pray for the dead. But there's no time to stop. The bodies just keep coming.
SOARES: Powerful piece there from our Jomana Karadsheh and team. Well, for more information about how you can help Libya's flood relief efforts, go to
Turning to Ukraine now, because Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy prepares to travel to the U.S. this week to appeal for more weapons. Kyiv
claims its troops are making progress on the battlefield. A Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister earlier told CNN, 300 square kilometers of land has
been liberated since the beginning of June. But she admits the counteroffensive is progressing more slowly than anticipated.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting continues along the southern front, as you can see there on your map. Ukraine says two people were killed in Russian
attacks in the Kherson region, and that happened overnight. And just weeks after Ukraine's defense minister was replaced, if you remember, a high-
level departmental shake-up, it seems, continue.
All but one of the country's deputy defense ministers were dismissed on Monday, along with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense. No
reason was offered, but it comes after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cited the need for, quote, new approaches earlier this month.
Our Fred Pleitgen joins me now live from Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine. So, Fred, just what more do we know at this stage, or are you hearing at this stage
about this shake-up at the Ukrainian government level here?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Isa, I think shake-up exactly is the right word. In fact, the new Ukrainian defense
minister, Rustam Umarov, he called this a reboot, as he put it, obviously saying that pretty much the entire top echelon of the defense ministry is
going to be replaced. And there certainly seem to be several reasons for this.
First of all, when Olexii Reznikov was still the head of the defense ministry, there were always allegations of graft and corruption within the
ranks of the defense ministry. You talk, for instance, about the procurement of meals for the troops that are in the field, the troops that
are fighting on the front lines -- food for those troops. There were allegations of that. Then also, for instance, as far as recruitment was
also concerned, fake certificates of health, for instance.
Those were things that really transcended the Ukrainian military, allegations of that a very long time. And certainly, Volodymyr Zelenskyy at
some point decided enough was enough. But also because, Isa, there was a lot of public backlash about this.
Of course, we know that right now in this country, there are a lot of people fighting on the front lines, sacrificing on the front lines, many
have been wounded, a lot of people have been killed, and so many people found that it was absolutely unacceptable to have something like that going
on in the ranks of the military and even allegations of that.
And there were certainly a lot of people who felt that Olexii Reznikov and the people who were serving under them were not coming to grips with it the
way that Volodymyr Zelenskyy wanted them to do that.
But of course, there's a larger thing to this is, as well, and it might have something to do with Volodymyr Zelenskyy now traveling to the U.S. to
go to the UNGA, but of course also to meet with President Biden and U.S. members of Congress to then talk about additional weapons for Ukraine.
Ukraine wants to become a member of the European Union, wants to down the line become a member of NATO, and they'll certainly need a degree of
transparency in order to do that. But also, as Ukraine continues to ask for that flow of weapons to keep going on, the countries that are giving those
weapons will want to know that they are going to a transparent organization and one that they can trust.
And I think it's very important for the Ukrainians to show that it is an urgent matter for them and it's something that they want to get on top of.
And that's, I think, why you're seeing such a fundamental shake-up of the top echelon of Ukraine's defense ministry. Isa.
SOARES: And I'm interested to see, Fred, how much that reboot will shift, will impact the counteroffensive. Because I remember you and I, on Friday,
on my show, we were talking about a village that was taken back in Bakhmut. I think it was Andrivka. And now they've increased those gains in the East.
How symbolic and significant would you say those gains are in the East?
PLEITGEN: Well, the Ukrainians say that they're absolutely significant. Andrivka is another village next to that called Klishchiivka, which is
actually a little bigger and has a lot more substantial structures in it, as well.
The Ukrainians are saying they're consolidating those gains, and they are saying that those gains are extremely important to them because it inches
them closer to the city of Bakhmut, which of course there's been that heavy fighting going on around there for such a very long time.
But it also gives them a lot of momentum on the battlefield as well, they feel, and that of course, is also something that President Volodymyr
Zelenskyy is going to take to the U.S. when he comes there, to show President Biden and those U.S. politicians that yes, Ukraine's making
And in order to keep that going, they want to have more weapons. One of the things that the Ukrainians say they absolutely urgently need is more
ammunition to make sure that they can fire at least somewhat at the ratio that the Russians are able to fire right now. Isa.
SOARES: Fred Pleitgen, live for us in Zaporizhzhia, I believe. Thanks very much, Fred. Well, coming up, as Fred was saying, U.N. General Assembly
opens this week in New York. A number of top leaders, including Mr. Zelenskyy will be there but others were missing at the meeting, We'll have
a live report just ahead.
And then later, the entertainment industry reacts with shock as an actor- comedian is accused of sexual assault by multiple women. Plus, we'll check in on a high-profile visit by Israel's Prime Minister to the U.S., his
first stop in Silicon Valley for talks with a controversial tech tycoon. All those stories after this very short break.
SOARES: World leaders are gathering for the annual United Nations General Assembly to tackle the world's most pressing problems, and there are many,
including Russia's war in Ukraine, the devastating floods we brought you this hour in Libya, and climate change, just to name a few.
But key players are skipping this year's summit, including the leaders of China, Russia, the U.K., and France. U.S. President Joe Biden will be
attending, as will Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as we heard from our Fred Pleitgen in Zaporizhzhia early. And Mr. Zelenskyy is
appearing in person for the first time since Russia invaded his nation.
Our Richard Roth has been covering the U.N. for years, and he joins us now live. And Richard, plentiful leaders, clearly, to debate at this year's
UNGA Humanity Facing huge challenges from climate to escalating conflicts. I was reading a piece that you wrote actually for cnn.com and I'm just
going to read a bit from what you've written.
You say, United Nations is prepared to announce world peace at the end of the global event. No, if only, you're right. The truth is topics, at the
two-week summit appear more numerous, volatile, and hard to solve than before. With that, what can we expect, Richard?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Hello. Well, it's been raining here. Things will really start to heat up tomorrow when we have President
Biden and then a few speakers. Later, we have President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, President of Iran in the afternoon. You can ask for a better news
peg than the prisoners on both sides going back and forth, but the Americans are out of Iran.
We don't know if he's going to talk about that or President Biden will throw Iran a cupcake on that, but there's still so many differences between
Iran and the United States and they continued today even with the U.S. adding more sanctions on Iranian officials.
The Secretary General has said there's a big fracture among the big powers at the U.N. and the developing nations. That is still going to be pressed
when the U.N. considers these so-called horrible names, sustainable development goals to ease poverty and education. That's being talked about
today, so, -- but the official speeches and summit, tomorrow.
SOARES: Thanks very much Richard, appreciate it. I'll speak to you tomorrow most likely. Thank you. Well, next hour the Secretary General of the U.N.
will join our Christiane Amanpour. That's at 1 P.M. if you are watching in New York and 6 P.M. if you're watching us here in London.
Well, as the U.N. takes the spotlight this week, we want to focus on reports of sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers stationed in
countries like Haiti. Factors like poverty, conflict and chaos make the women extremely vulnerable. CNN has released an investigation into U.N.
promises to help the women. Our Paula Newton has that story.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.N.'s promises weigh heavily in Haiti. At its long-abandoned compound at the
coastal outpost of Port Salu, there's barely a trace of the peacekeepers that served here. And yet much has been left behind.
Rosemina Joseph says she was a child when she was lured into a relationship with a Uruguayan peacekeeper and became pregnant. He was sent home and
served a sentence for abuse, according to a U.N. document. But Rosemina wanted us to see her home, a place where she says dreams once stood, a plot
for a house.
Still a barren foundation. She has no money to build here. She lives on this patch of land in nothing more than a tent, clinging to proof and
staking her claim that the U.N. is also responsible for the harm done to her and her 12-year-old son.
NEWTON: Do you think he understood that you were a child?
ROSEMINA JOSEPH (through translator): Yes, he knew I was a minor.
It started when I was 16. I became pregnant in January. I was 17.
NEWTON: Rosemina says while her abuser was punished, that does not absolve the U.N. of responsibility.
JOSEPH (through translator): It would be much better if they had worked directly with us. They know they can help, they're not just doing it.
NEWTON: We sat down with a half-dozen families. The U.N. confirms that all are among at least 35 Haitian women who were in exploitative or abusive
relationships with U.N. personnel. Some have received money, mostly for schooling. But all had the same complaint, that they were made to feel like
beggars, not victims of exploitation, made to wait years for little money that does not meet the needs of their children.
JOKENCIE JEAN BAPTISTE (through translator): Do you know what hurts me the most? Every time you call them, the way they treat us, it's like, they
treat us like we're nobody.
NEWTON: Jokencie Jean Baptiste says she and her son have been victimized all over again. First fighting for paternity tests, then financial support,
submitting receipts for expenses to the U.N., waiting months or years for money that arrives sporadically or not at all. If money is granted, the
U.N. decides how she should spend it.
BAPTISTE (through translator): If you get the money to pay for school, and the child dies of hunger when he's back from school, what would you do?
NEWTON: In 2017, the U.N. Secretary General launched what he called a new approach, pledging zero tolerance in future for abusers. And he appointed
Jane Connors as the U.N.'s first Victims' Rights Advocate. Her expertise is matched by a fierce will to help, but she acknowledges the limitations of
the U.N. system.
JANE CONNORS, UNITED NATIONS VICTIMS' RIGHTS ADVOCATE: The U.N. doesn't provide compensation and the U.N. is in a position to essentially create
cooperation with the Member State in order to reach the desired objective.
I would love to see more progress but I think you can't argue that there's been no progress. I think we have made some progress with regard to the
children going to school, with regard to some of the paternity claims that have been resolved. Some are ongoing but we have much more to do.
NEWTON: It has been nearly six years since the United Nations and Antonio Guterres himself pledged to make the rights and dignity of victims a
priority. That was 2017. How far do you think you've gotten with that?
CONNORS: The commitment is there. We're improving but it is -- it remains his imperative and I think as I say more is to be done.
NEWTON: What needs to be done, these women say, is simple. No strings attached, financial support. They say that will restore their dignity and
allow their children a measure of accountability that the U.N. has so far failed to provide. Pauline Newton, CNN. Port Salut, Haiti.
SOARES: And we'll be back after this very short break.
SOARES: Hello and welcome back to One World. Let me bring you up to date on the headlines for you this hour. As North Korea's Kim Jong-un leaves
Russia, another top diplomat is making a visit. China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, is in Moscow to meet with Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.
The two are expected to discuss the war in Ukraine.
The European Commission Chief and the Italian Prime Minister say they're working to resolve the migrant crisis facing the island of Lampedusa. This
past week, 7000 migrants arrived. That's more the entire island's population. E.U. Chief Ursula von der Leyen, as you can see there, says
migration is a European challenge and it needs a European solution.
U.S. President Joe Biden's son Hunter is suing the Internal Revenue Service. Biden says IRS agents unlawfully released his tax information and
failed to protect his private records. The lawsuit is centered on information given by two IRS agents turned whistleblowers early this year,
but did not name them directly.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beginning a busy week in the United States. His first stop is Silicon Valley for a sit-down with tech
mogul Elon Musk. That meeting is underway this hour. Their chat is focusing on Israel's burgeoning A.I. industry.
From there, the Israeli leader goes to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. And then on Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu will hold his first face-to-
face talks with Joe Biden since returning to the prime minister's job last year.
Our Hadas Gold is tracking the story for us from Jerusalem. So, it's already underway, Hadas. Give us a sense of what both these gentlemen have
been talking about here.
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean the whole point of this meeting, according to Benjamin Netanyahu, is to discuss artificial
intelligence and try to convince Elon Musk to invest more into Israel. So far in the first few minutes of this live stream discussion, it's been very
complimentary towards one of -- one another.
Netanyahu even called Musk the Edison of our time. Musk talked about how they have met several times and had breakfast together. And right now,
they're just sort of deep in the weeds about artificial intelligence. And Netanyahu is talking about how artificial intelligence and all these
technologies, are both a curse and a blessing.
One thing we have not yet heard them mention quite yet, and it's not clear if we will during the course of this public conversation, is all of these
allegations that Elon Musk has allowed anti-Semitism to flourish on the platform formerly known as Twitter, now known as X.
There is an expectation, and it's been briefed as such, that Benjamin Netanyahu will be bringing this up with Elon Musk, especially when you
consider Benjamin Netanyahu's history as sort of being this grand fighter against anti-Semitism across the world, not just focused on Israelis have
not heard, at least.
I have not yet heard the word anti-Semitism from this live stream but it is still ongoing, expected to go on for I think about an hour where they will
be discussing all of these issues. But even when Benjamin Netanyahu landed in California just a few hours ago, he was immediately reminded of what's
been going on back home and that is he was met by protesters along the streets not only from when he landed at the airport but also on his way to
the Tesla factory where this conversation is being held.
There were protesters lining the road for his motorcade. These protesters, of course, protesting, we can see them on the screen now, protesting the
judicial overhaul that this right-wing government, the most right-wing government in Israeli history, has been trying to push through.
And these protesters say that they will be following Benjamin Netanyahu throughout his visit in the United States. He heads to New York tomorrow,
and then he will be meeting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly before he's expected to make his own
speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday.
It is very notable, of course, that Benjamin Netanyahu will not be meeting with President Biden at the White House in that big formal White House
welcome, as I'm sure Benjamin Netanyahu would have preferred. Also, look at the timing. This is happening some nine months, if not more, since Benjamin
Netanyahu took power once again in late December.
Typically, Israeli leaders would meet with the U.S. President in a much shorter time frame. But that goes to show sort of the attitude, the way
that the Biden administration feels about the Netanyahu government, especially in regards to this judicial overhaul.
It will be very interesting to see what this meeting will be like. There's been a lot of very public tensions aired between the two leaders. So, it
will be very interesting to see what this meeting will look like and what sort of public statements we see from both of them.
SOARES: Important context there from our Hadas Gold. Thanks very much, Hadas. Good to see you. Now, back to our top story. Five Americans are set
to fly back to the U.S. after years-long ordeal in Iran. Years long, I should say.
The five were released from Iranian detention as part of a wider deal between the two countries. They arrived in Doha a bit earlier and will soon
fly to Washington D.C. Back in March, our Christiane Amanpour spoke with Siamak Namazi, one of the five Americans released. He pleaded for President
Biden's help. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SIAMAK NAMAZI, ONE OF FIVE AMERICANS RELEASED: The other hostages and I desperately need President Biden to finally hear us out, 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. I'm clearly nervous.
Just like it's odd for you, it's very intimidating for me to do this. I feel I need to be heard. I don't know how long. I have to wait until the
White House understands that we need action, and not just to be told that bringing this out is a priority.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SOARES: Incredibly brave interview there with Namazi. Well, part of the action taken by the Biden administration was the release of five Iranians,
as well as the unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian funds. Well, this months- long deal in the making was facilitated by Qatar and several other countries. The U.S. and Iran, of course, haven't had formal diplomatic
relations in more than four decades.
All ties were severed after a group of radical Iranian college students seized the U.S. embassy into Iran back in 1979 demanding the extradition of
the deposed Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, while the militants ultimately held 52 Americans hostage, triggering a crisis that lasted 444 days.
Plays in the aftermath of Iran's revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, after fundamentalist Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini returned
from exile and then rose to power. The American hostages were free just minutes after newly elected President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. But
months earlier, Iraq had invaded Iran, hoping to take advantage of Tehran's revolutionary chaos.
The U.S. provided some support to Iraq. The move only intensified what has turned out to be a long as well as complicated history between Washington
and Tehran, with acrimony and mistrust ranging on both sides to this very day.
And just a short time ago, a senior Biden administration official said the release of five Americans from detention does not change America's
relationship with Iran in, quote, any way. Our Becky Anderson joins me now from outside the airport in Doha. And Becky, I was relieved with politics
for just one moment because this was just an incredible moving human moment. Talk to us about the importance of this moment and what happens
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, and I think the context that you've just said is really important as we discuss this. Firstly though, let's just
talk about what happened here at the airport just behind me. You can see the lights there. They are on the tarmac and that's where we were at about
half past five local time, half past ten or so Eastern U.S. time when a Qatar Airways flight touched down on the tarmac.
The U.S. Ambassador to Qatar was on the tarmac to welcome here in what is the first leg home for five U.S. citizens, five Iranian Americans
wrongfully detained in Iran for years. This has been a years-long nightmare, not least for Siamak, who you heard from in that interview with
Christiane, an unprecedented interview with Christiane just earlier on.
He has been in that notorious Evan prison now for nearly eight years. He describes a feeling of abandonment, that he'd been left behind by
successive U.S. administrations when there have been deals cut to release hostages. But today, he was on that flight along with three others, two
others named Morad and Emad.
There were some of the family members, two family members, and then two other detainees who didn't want to be identified. And the emotion was
absolutely palpable. This was a moment that marked the end of their nightmare and the beginning of their journey home.
Of course, the Qataris have facilitated this negotiation, these talks, the U.S. and Iran, of course, not indirect talks at all. So, it has been the
Qataris and, to a certain extent, the Omanis, over eight rounds of negotiations to get us to this point today.
And, as you rightly point out, the Americans have said, look, this doesn't change our relationship with a country they describe as an adversary, as a
state sponsor of terrorism. But if we just pause for a moment to consider just what's happened today, it is a moment to applaud successful diplomacy.
And that is important in the first instance. What happens after this, we will report on and we will continue to press on. Those Americans, as we
understand it, are bound or home abound in the next hours from here to D.C. where they will see their friends and family.
And such an important day for them today, such an important day for diplomacy and -- but, as we have been discussing, the hard work of nuclear
talks, of bringing Iran back into the fold for the region here and beyond, when it is looking as it is east these days, getting involved with Russia
in the Ukraine war.
There are so many issues that mean this is not a -- an automatic re- engagement by any stretch of the imagination by Washington with Tehran at the moment. It is, though, a great day for these five wrongfully detained
U.S. citizens who will be headed home very soon.
SOARES: Indeed, Becky. Important contacts from the ground from our Becky Anderson. Thank you, Becky. And coming up right here, low-income families
in South Africa grappling with a housing crisis. Why hijacked buildings are a growing concern in Johannesburg. That story after this.
SOARES: Well, a fire last month in Johannesburg killed more than 17 people in a so-called hijacked building. These are buildings abandoned by
landlords and taken over by gangs or other groups who lease space to low- income tenants. Our David McKenzie got a glimpse of what it's like living in these spaces.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Siyabonga Mahlangu takes us inside a notorious target. In a city infamous for crime, hijackers
often steal cars. They also steal entire buildings. And when that happens, the victims call Mahlangu first.
SIYABONGA MAHLANGU, INNER CITY FEDERATION: You can see the situation of the property.
MCKENZIE: But this is the only home they have. What is a hijack building?
MAHLANGU: A hijack building is where someone will come in and claim to be the owner of the property and start collecting rentals from the resident of
that particular building.
MCKENZIE: Like a gangster?
MAHLANGU: Yes. That's a hijacking, a hijack property.
MCKENZIE: Mahlangu says hijackers with fake papers have targeted the building four times. In one case, even having these women arrested and
evicted, until his organization beat the hijackers in court. Are people afraid of the hijackers?
UNKNOWN: We are afraid. We are afraid of hijackers. Because what they do, they put the security during the night, not during the day. They are
threatening. It's not easy. They were threatening us, beating us.
MCKENZIE: Stolen buildings in Johannesburg aren't new. As the city crumbled, building owners abandoned their properties. Gangs have taken over
apartments or hijacked entire buildings like this one. In the world's most unequal country, the desperate will live wherever and however they can.
If you look how tightly packed this is, and each one of these little partitions houses a family. It's like an informal settlement squashed
inside a building. How many people would live in a building like this?
UNKNOWN: Close to 500 people in this building.
MCKENZIE: Five hundred people, like Nqobile Zulu, that share just one tap. She lives in this tiny space, but she says she can't afford anywhere else.
NQOBILE ZULU, TENANT: I'm scared.
MCKENZIE: Why are you scared?
ZULU: Because I'm staying with my children. If he is making fire, I don't know where I'll go with you, because I don't have money to pay rent.
MCKENZIE: It is a building just like this one that was consumed by an inferno late last month. Seventy-seven people died. Many of them burnt
beyond recognition. It's provoked a reckoning in this country, a reminder of democracy's broken promises.
ZULU: When they find that the building is weak, then that one is gone. Ours, they find that every time they come here, we are so strong.
MCKENZIE: The women of this building fought back. They say their secret weapon is Elsie Mafou (ph). I tell the hijackers this building belongs to
us, she says, but they still face a constant threat, still feel abandoned.
UNKNOWN: We will all die without seeing the change. We will all die. I can assure you that and promise that.
MCKENZIE: David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.
SOARES: And coming up right here on the show, Russell Brand was once on top of the comedy world, appearing in movies, on radio, and TV shows. But now
there are some stunning allegations against him. Details, when we come back.
SOARES: Well, Russell Brand's upcoming live tour at the Theatre Royal Windsor has been postponed amid a storm of sexual assault allegations,
which he vehemently denies. The entertainment industry was rocked over the weekend when British media outlets published a joint investigation in which
four women accused Brand of sexual assault. Before the report aired, Brand vehemently denied the allegations. We get more now from our Clare Sebastian
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was front page news on pretty much every British newspaper. Russell Brand, a comedian, actor and presenter
known for being very outspoken about his own sexual exploits, now facing deepening fallout from sexual assault allegations, including one alleged
All of that surfacing Saturday in a Channel 4 Dispatchers documentary, part of a joint investigation with the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers.
Now, four women spoke out for the show, including one referred to as Alice, not her real name, was just 16 at the time of the alleged assault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALICE: Russell engaged in the behaviors of a groomer, looking back in the air, but I didn't even know what that was then or what that looked like. He
would try to drive a wedge between me and my parents, taught me to lie to them. I was at my dad's house and it was 11 o'clock at night. Russell was
texting me, he's like, please come over, I need to see you, I'm really upset, like, I need to see you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN: Alice goes on to describe several instances of sexual assault. CNN cannot independently verify these claims. And Russell Brand himself
vehemently denied the allegations taking to his popular YouTube channel the day before the documentary aired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSEL BRAND, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: But amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely
refute. These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the
And as I've written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous. Now, during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had
were absolutely always consensual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN: In terms of immediate career impact, Brand has now been dropped by his literary agent. The BBC and Channel 4, both of whom he worked for
during the period the allegations relate to, are conducting their own investigations. Now, as for potential criminal investigations, there are as
yet no indications these are underway either in London or in Los Angeles where two of the alleged assaults took place.
The Metropolitan Police, though, here in London, does say that it received a report on Sunday of an alleged sexual assault in London in 2003, though
without directly naming Brand.
The Met has urged anyone who believes they've been the victim of a sexual assault no matter how long ago -- assault in London in 2003, though without
directly naming Brand.
The Met has urged anyone who believes they've been the victim of a sexual assault no matter how long ago to come forward. Clare Sebastian CNN,
SOARES: And of course, we will stay across that story for you. Actress Drew Barrymore is pausing the return of her talk show amid the Hollywood
strikes. Barrymore was hit with criticism from Hollywood strikers as she was planning on kicking off the fourth season of the Drew Barrymore Show
that was due to happen on Monday. The Golden Globe winner took to social media to express her apologies. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW BARRYMORE, ACTRESS: When things are so tough. It's hard to make decisions from that place. So, all I can say is that I wanted to accept
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Our crew members on the show have been out to work since the writers Guild of America strike began in May and shut down production. And
that does it for us here on One World. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Isa Soares in London. I'll be back in about an hour. Amanpour, though, is
next. Do stay right here with CNN.