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Hala Gorani Tonight

Historic Biden And Putin Sit-Down Yields Few Breakthroughs; Militants from Gaza Send Incendiary Balloons Over to Israel; Morgan Stanley CEO Calls for Employees to Come Back to the Office; Iran Election; Construction Flaws Led to Mexico Rail Collapse; Biden-Putin Joint Statement on Nuclear War Threat; China's Space Race. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 17, 2021 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNNI HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. They said it was positive and constructive. But what did

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin really get out of Wednesday's high stakes meeting in Geneva?

I'll ask the former ambassador to Moscow. And also working from home has changed how millions of us live. But one CEO is telling his workers, come

back to the office or else. And change is coming to Iran as the country gets ready to pick Hassan Rouhani's successor as president. We'll have a


U.S. President Joe Biden is back in Washington after his first major international trip and a historic summit with Russian President Vladimir

Putin. Mr. Biden said he raised the touchy issues of human rights and cyber attacks with his Russian counterpart, declaring he did what he came to do

in this meeting. But the breakthroughs from the meeting or the lack of breakthroughs are now being closely analyzed.

CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson has been following all of the developments. And we've had an opportunity yesterday, we covered

sort of right after the meetings wrapped up and the news conferences took place sort of the immediate aftermath of the summit.

But we've had an opportunity to digest now. And one of the big overarching themes not just of the Biden-Putin meeting, but of Biden's trip throughout

has been China. How did it play out in the meeting between the two leaders in Geneva yesterday?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think one of the big takeaways has to be those moments where President Biden is

speaking to the press after that summit. And he seems really intent to get an issue across, that is sort of frustrated that it's not landing the way

that he wants with the reporters, he is sort of calling them a little bit - - a little bit negative.

But he says look, I want to choose -- you know, he's really asked the question of, you know, why do you think that you have a convincing argument

with President Putin? That's sort of underneath all of this because there's no immediate change that can be expected from Putin on any of these issues.

So, that was the real question. Why do you think you can change him? And Biden pause when he was speaking to reporters, the last thing he said more

or less before getting on the plane to get back to the United States was, you know, I'm going to choose my words carefully, but he said I think

Russia is under a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure from China.

And he mentioned as well in this main press conference that Putin has a border with China that's thousands of miles long. You know, he seemed to

equate, you know, the difficulty that President Biden has with China as a threat, as a growing power, he seems to equate that with the way that

President Putin thinks about China as well.

That in a way, this is a common threat to both of them. He said that Putin wants Russia to remain a major power and that essentially China is a threat

to that. So perhaps, sort of some of the sort of bit stand back and look diplomatic reach here of Biden is to create a Russia that sees itself

perhaps not so closely aligned or more worried about China. And that seems to fit Biden's world view at the moment about --

GORANI: Right --

ROBERTSON: China and how he needs to deal with it.

GORANI: China very much dominating discussions as well during the G7, the NATO Summit as well. Nic Robertson, thanks very much, we'll stay in touch

with you. What wins and what losses may have come out of this meeting? Joining me now to talk more about the ins and outs of this high stakes

summit is former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Russia, Thomas Pickering. Thanks for joining us. Well, what was the big takeaway for you,

ambassador, from this high stakes face-to-face between the two leaders?

THOMAS PICKERING, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Hala, my big takeaway was that despite the differences which persists, and you were very clear in

your last interview that they do, it came out a little better than any of us expected it might with respect to the three or four things that they

agreed to try to work together on, getting the ambassadors back, having strategic stability talks, sitting down together to talk about cyber and

see whether there were things that would be out of bounds with respect to that. And buying into the minced two guidelines as a possible basis for a

settlement in Ukraine.


And those were things that could have happened and indeed did happen. And mark, what I think was for the president a real win as opposed to something

that he would have had to portray in the press conference as a win only if he wagged his finger very firmly at Putin, which he did as well.

GORANI: What incentive does Vladimir Putin have to change any of this behavior? In the end, with very little investment, I mean, whether it's

cyber attacks, whether it's hosting Ransomware criminals, whether it's arresting opponents, whether it's annexing Crimea, there have been no real

consequences for those actions. Where is the incentive for Vladimir Putin to change any of his behavior?

PICKERING: Incentives for Putin are, one, his domestic political popularity, where being seen as a co-equal with Biden, as two of the

greatest leaders in the world is something of real benefit to him. The second is that he has a marker in addition to what Nic told you with

respect to China. He has not only the long border, but he has deep concern about the huge population of China next to unpopulated Siberia. And he has

a real sense that if he were to make a deal with China, his chances of coming out co-equal are low, and his --

GORANI: Yes --

PICKERING: Chances of coming out as the leader of that group are even less.

GORANI: Well, the U.S. allies, as you know very well, are concerned about the rise of autocratic states in many parts of the world. But they're also

concerned about American democracy. And what often, very high level officials say is what if we get a Trump 2.0? What if we go back to kind of

this populous multilateral skepticism, and even maybe going further than that, a U.S. leader who will fully disengage from multilateralism? They are

concerned. Are they right to be?

PICKERING: Hala, it was interesting that Biden said to everybody yesterday, we will not know until six months whether any of these proposals

that Trump -- that I can work together on Putin will bear fruit. It was in a sense, the old Reagan "trust, but verify".


PICKERING: And that's the same message that I think he should be sending to allies. Trust us, but verify. Watch this space. We're going to perform.

GORANI: So, he should be sending those allies in terms of what, domestic U.S. politics, you mean?

PICKERING: No. The fire -- the full range of foreign and domestic policy. We told you what we're going to do. Now, we're going to do it.

GORANI: Yes, but I guess my question was more on the concern that the next election or the next election cycle will produce you know, another Donald

Trump-type politician. There is real worry outside of the U.S. among allies that this could happen, that the U.S. democracy in the end is much more

fragile than many people assumed it was five years ago.

PICKERING: That's not going to go away, Hala, until Biden can prove that he can deliver enough on his domestic and foreign policies to be a major

contestant in any future election, whether it's mid-term in terms of Congress or whether it's the quadrennial election for president. And that's

the kind of thing that I think will show up on the record here as opposed to the great uncertainty that exists, particularly over the continued

influence of Trump in U.S. politics.

GORANI: All right, thank you, Ambassador Thomas Pickering for joining us from Washington, really appreciate having you on the program this evening.

Let's talk about Israel for a moment before we take a break.

Israel says militants in Gaza have launched more incendiary balloons across the border, sparking at least eight fires today. Israel responded to

Tuesday's initial wave of balloon attacks with air strikes, but it has not responded since. The balloons launched to protest Tuesday's march by Jewish

extremists in Jerusalem are a test for the new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

In 2018 while serving as education minister, he advocated shooting to kill anyone who sends an incendiary balloon into Israel. Is the fact that he's

now in a coalition government changing some of his impulses to react?


Let's get more from Hadas Gold in Jerusalem. So, what is the answer to that question, the fact that he is having to work with a very vast coalition of

politicians in this government, how has that potentially changed the response here or not?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, just four days into this new government, as you noted, a very diverse coalition parties from the far

left through the right, and including for the first time in history, Arab- Israeli party. But the Israeli position on these balloons is that they do want to respond to them. That they don't want these balloons -- these

incendiary balloons, essentially explosives or other items already lit on fire that are attached to what really look like party balloons launched

over the fence from Gaza into Israel.

And they do cause damage. They light things on fire, they ruin crops, they ruin fields, and of course, if they can land in residential areas, they can

be damaging. But Israel has said that they want to respond more forcefully to these types of balloons.

And we saw that on Tuesday night in the airstrikes. But I think that you can also see some sort of messaging in these actions. Messaging built from

Hamas who wants to portray itself as the defender of Jerusalem. They're launching these balloons over, but not launching rockets. Balloons are

cheap, they're easy, they're fast, but they're not launching rockets into Israeli territory.

And Israel by responding with airstrikes still, but the airstrikes struck with just material damage and they weren't necessarily considered very

important locations for Hamas, and they were no casualties, and notably, there have not been airstrikes since Tuesday night despite the fact that

more balloons have been sent over and more fires have been set in southern Israel as a result of these balloons.

And I don't think that it's necessarily in the government's -- the Israeli government's interest to start any sort of full scale conflict, full scale

military action. They just came into power and they want a smooth transition and to keep the calm.

And it might not necessarily also be in Hamas' interest to also start firing rockets. But the messaging that they are sending back and forth is

important to keep an eye on. And it also just does go to show you that although there is a ceasefire, the tensions here are still very much

simmering, and any sort of move one way or the other could cause them to boil over. Hala.

GORANI: All right, Hadas Gold live in Jerusalem. Thanks very much. Still to come tonight, a wakeup call for work from home warriors as Morgan

Stanley is the latest Wall Street firm to order employees back to the office. A closer look at return to work policies ahead. You probably worked

from home today. So you'll be interested. Plus, as Japan struggles to vaccinate its public, a private company steps in to speed up the process.

Ahead, an exclusive look at how Rakuten is helping one of Japan's biggest cities.



GORANI: Welcome back. In the United States, the Supreme Court has dismissed the challenge to the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare. The

decision means that the law will remain intact and save healthcare coverage for millions of Americans. The justices turned away a challenge from

Republican-led states and the former Trump administration which urged the justices to block the entire law. Seven justices supported this decision

and two dissented.

Perhaps, of all the habits picked up during the pandemic, working from home will be the hardest to break. As many countries reopen the tussle over

getting back to the office has begun. The CEO of one of Wall Street's biggest banks put it starkly, saying if you can go out to eat, you can come

back to work.

Adding that those earnings -- those earning New York salaries had better be in the city or face changes. Well, joining us from his home is CNN business

reporter Paul La Monica and he is in New York City. So, here, we're talking about the Morgan Stanley CEO who is saying you can't get paid New York City

salaries and, you know, remote work from Colorado. It doesn't work that way.

So, either you come back in September or else. What does that mean practically for employees who just are reluctant to come back into the


PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, this is going to be a great question, Hala, I think what James Gorman; the CEO of Morgan Stanley is

urging the banks, Wall Street employees is that they really should be coming back to work in New York as New York City, to be honest, has

reopened. A lot of things are slowly getting back to normal, and as he starkly put it, if you can come in for dinner and maybe a show, then there

is no reason why you can't get on a train or subway and head into their office in Times Square as well. A couple of other big investment banks are

also urging their employees to come into the office.

I think that this workplace culture on Wall Street, I think they're all tired of the Zoom calls and want to have some face-to-face time with their

bankers, their analysts and what have you, traders doing work in the office.

GORANI: Yes, and it's not just Morgan Stanley. It's JPMorgan, it's Goldman Sachs, they're all telling their employees to get ready, we're getting back

to normal. Most people now -- and among their employees I imagine, the percentage is extremely high, double vaccinated. Get ready.

What is the reaction of employees? Because people have gotten used to flexible working hours, not being at their desk at 7:30, being able to pick

up their kid from school, being able to go to a doctor's appointment at 11:30 in the morning if that's what suits them. And I think -- and I'm

hearing from a lot of people not just in the banking industry, I don't want to go back to the way -- what this pandemic has taught us that we can work


LA MONICA: Yes, I think there is going to be a bit of a challenge for some of these Wall Street firms if they wind up being too rigid in enforcing

these policies. To be fair to Morgan Stanley, he is getting a lot of flack, James Gorman for the court about going into -- you know, eat, if you can do

that then come to the office. It sound a little too paternalistic. Kind of like when I scold my kids, stop playing road blocks on your phone if you

haven't finished your homework yet, if you're not too tired to play games on your phone, you're not too tired to finish homework.

But I think the issue with Morgan Stanley and other banks are going to face this as well, is that there are some people who like the flexibility

because they are picking up kids from school, because they have, you know, siblings or you know, spouses that they need to take care of. It's going to

be an issue. And I think that, you know, Gorman did lay the scenario for there to still be some flexibility, even with regards to vaccinations, he

thinks about 98 percent of their employees will eventually get vaccinated. But he realized that there are people who have legitimate medical concerns

as well as religious concerns may not want to get vaccinated. And they'll look at that on a case by case basis.

GORANI: So, here's the question, what happens to productivity? I mean, I'm not -- I don't want to put you on the spot. Maybe you've looked at it for

banks and, you know, tech companies and stuff like that. But is productivity -- does it suffer when people work from home or not? Because

if not, then employees have a real case here, and they can argue, look, productivity doesn't suffer, and I'm just a happier human being, and

therefore I'll be a better employee to you. What happens to productivity when people work from home en masse?

LA MONICA: Yes, I think obviously what we've learned as experiment, you know, as the economy has been humming along and has really rebounded, I

don't think productivity is the issue, Hala.


I think what it's really going to come down to, is that you have a lot of people who have been working from home who may actually enjoy going back to

the office to have --

GORANI: Yes --

LA MONICA: Real --

GORANI: Yes --

LA MONICA: Honest to God, physical interactions with another --

GORANI: Yes --

LA MONICA: Adult human being instead of just on a screen in a Zoom box. And you know, getting away from your kids every now and then isn't the

worst thing in the world and I love both of my boys.

GORANI: Right, and -- yes, you're right. I think what people want is the flexibility. They want to be able to say, look, Thursdays and Fridays, can

I do this from home? I mean, for us, obviously, it's much harder. I anchored from my attic for six months, and I was really happy to see the

back of those cables, you know, wrapped around my staircase banister for half a year.

I was kind of -- but at the same time, it's a shock to the system to come back to an office five days a week, so I can understand that people, you

know, want to take it slowly at the very least. Paul La Monica, thanks very much. We're going to continue this conversation for many more months to

come. That's for sure.

Another failure with a global internet delivery network foiled operations at major companies around the world today. Akamai Technologies, I hope I'm

saying that correctly, is the second network provider in less than two weeks to suffer a widespread outage. Just over a week ago fastly, went down

for about an hour, causing issues with websites and apps worldwide. Today's outage impacted Virgin Australia, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and

banks in Australia and New Zealand and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange website was also briefly off line.

With COVID cases falling and the Olympics just five weeks away, Japan has announced plans to ease some of its restrictions. Starting Sunday, nine

prefectures will no longer be under a state of emergency. Instead, seven of them will move to quasi-emergency measures, and the other two will lose

their emergency declarations all together. The prime minister is still urging caution, though. He's asking people to be safe and watch the games

from home.


YOSHIHIDE SUGA, PRIME MINISTER, JAPAN (through translator): I would like to show the world that Japan can overcome a difficult time through people's

efforts and wisdom. For that, I think it is important to hold a safe and secure Tokyo games, curb the spread of infection in Japan during the period

of the games and to prevent infection after the games. I would like to ask everyone to support the athletes at home by watching the games on TV.


GORANI: The prime minister also vowed to speed up vaccinations in places like Tokyo and Osaka. But most prefectures won't have the same type of help

from the central government. So, one company, a private company has decided to help out and step up. CNN's Selina Wang looks at how an e-commerce giant

is working with the city of Kobe to ramp up its vaccine drive.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pro soccer players, online consultations, a speedy tech process. The CEO of e-commerce

giant Rakuten thinks he's got the solution to speed up Japan's sluggish vaccine rollout.

HIROSHI MIKITANI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RAKUTEN: I think we are probably 3 to 5x more efficient than other vaccination centers. Hopefully,

you know, that Kobe will become the role model of entire Japan.

WANG: Rakuten which owns the Vissel Kobe soccer team is working with Kobe city to vaccinate up to 7,500 people a day at Noevir Stadium, Kobe. Five

weeks from the games, less than 6 percent of Japan is fully vaccinated.

MIKITANI: I am not very supportive of hosting the global -- the big event. But if they're going to do it, then we need to really super accelerate the

vaccination as fast as possible.

WANG: In its first week, this center vaccinated more than 10,000. But Mikitani is attempting something much bigger.

MIKITANI: I'm hoping that we can open other more vaccine centers all over Japan. Let us do like maybe 500,000 shots per day.

WANG: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to accelerate Japan's rollout.

SUGA (through translator): From October to November of this year, I hope to finish vaccinating all the people who need and want to be vaccinated. I

want to realize this.

WANG: Vaccinations for the broader population start later this month at workplaces, including at big companies like Rakuten and SoftBank and at

universities. In this war room, Rakuten employees are brainstorming ideas to quicken the pace.

MIKITANI: If you look at it from the registration to actually getting vaccinated, we only take about four minutes. And we're trying to think how

can we reduce 3 seconds, 5 seconds, 10 seconds.

WANG: A major bottleneck in Japan's vaccine rollout is a lack of medical staff to administer the doses. But here, staff from local universities are

helping, and some pre-screenings are conducted online. With Rakuten's help, Kobe aims to finish vaccinating those 65 and older by mid July.


That's ahead of the central government's schedule and before the Olympics.

I'm really relieved to be vaccinated here, she tells me. I want to have a normal life again and be with people. Last month, COVID-19 cases in Kobe

were surging and the city canceled its local marathon. Cases have been declining, but the city remains under a state of emergency.

MAYOR KIZO HISAMOTO, KOBE, JAPAN: We are seeing more of the new strains circulating in the city. So we cannot let our guard down, and we have to

encourage the citizens to continue taking all precautions.

WANG: Many medical experts continue to warn that the games pose a risk to the Japanese population. The majority will still be unvaccinated when the

games begin.

I don't think the Olympics need to be held, he says, there will be so many coming into Japan that will probably go out and could give us infections.

In the meantime, Kobe city along with Rakuten is racing to protect its residents. Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


GORANI: Let's take you to Lebanon now. After surviving wars, the pandemic, and so many other disasters, Lebanon now faces yet another crisis. It is

running out of gas and electricity. It is the latest consequence of the country's economic troubles. And as Ben Wedeman reports, the famed Lebanese

ability to get by is being tested more than ever.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As if Lebanon didn't have enough problems already, along comes another, a petrol


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suddenly, the whole country is, you know, just destroyed within a couple of months. And it's just too much to bear.

WEDEMAN: Lebanon's currency has lost 90 percent of its value in less than two years. Inflation is soaring. A massive blast in the Beirut port killed

more than 200 people last year. Coronavirus killed thousands more. And the country hasn't been able to form a proper government in almost a year.

Taken all together, it's grim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to hell.

WEDEMAN (on camera): These long lines outside the gas stations are a manifestation of a much bigger problem of a government that's bankrupt,

that's broke, that doesn't have enough hard currency to import fuel to keep the lights on.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Also in short supply, fuel to run the country's decrepit power plants. The normal lengthy power outages are getting even

longer. The electric grid is antiquated. Those who can afford it depend on private generators to make up for the difference.


WEDEMAN: Lebanon's caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar warns, as bad as things are now, worse may be yet to come.

GHAJAR: The blackout will be a true blackout, not public electricity blackout. There will be a complete darkness. And I think this is, you know,

it's a calamity. It's not a scenario that's livable.

WEDEMAN: Iraq has reportedly promised to provide cut-rate fuel, but it hasn't arrived yet. And meanwhile, Lebanon's squabbling politicians do

nothing to fix the country's many problems.

MARC AYOUB, ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT: So, we are just buying time, we are kicking the can down the road without reforms,

without a complete solution for this either.

WEDEMAN: And Lebanon is running out of time, fuel, and it seems, everything else. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.


GORANI: Still to come tonight. In just a few hours, Iranians will be choosing a new president, but many are choosing to stay home? Why is that?

We'll discuss just ahead.



GORANI: Iranians will head to the polls tomorrow to cast their vote for a successor to president Hassan Rouhani. But low voter turnout is expected in

part because of COVID-19 but also because some observers believe that hardline front-runner Ebrahim Raisi will likely win after several reformist

candidates were barred from running. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports.



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Only hours ahead of the elections, Iran's presidential candidates are

trying to get out the vote. The events are very small because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Frontrunner hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi displaying confidence in saying he would remain in the nuclear agreement.

EBRAHIM RAISI, IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): I'd say this honestly, we view the Iran nuclear deal as an agreement with nine

articles that the supreme leader has approved.

We will stay committed to the accord as an agreement and commitment, just like any deal which administrations have to be committed to.

PLEITGEN: The future of the Iran nuclear agreement is only one topic on the minds of many Iranians. The country is suffering under crushing

sanctions imposed by the Trump administration and is still in the grasp of the coronavirus.

Iran's guardian council, the body that the candidates are vetted by, disqualified many of those looking to run in the election, giving Ebrahim

Raisi a major boost but possibly also leading to low voter turnout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in the best situation. We have to choose only the one that they had introduce to us. And we know him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm not interested in voting. Maybe I would have voted if they were different candidates. But now all of

them are the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the people around me, they won't be voting, too. And that's most people's opinion, I guess.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Even Iran's supreme leader has criticized the many disqualifications and is urging voters to come out and cast their ballots.

AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER (through translator): If we have low turnout, the pressure of the enemy will be high. If we want the

pressure and sanctions to diminish, there must be high turnout and popular support of the system.

PLEITGEN: After eight years of holding the presidency, moderate forces appear headed for major losses even as their main candidate hopes to pull

off a last-minute surprise.

ABDOLNASER HEMMATI, IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): I believe those who have said no to ballot boxes will reverse their decision

and they will change their idea in favor of voting for me. And the trend over the last few days shows that my popularity is growing.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): But after eight years of fairly moderate government under President Hassan Rouhani, Iran now seems set for a swing towards the

conservatives, with major implications for both Iran and its relations with the West -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


GORANI: With me is Ali Vaez, the director of the Iran project at the International Crisis Group.

Thanks for being with us.

What would a Raisi presidency mean for Iran?

ALI VAEZ, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Great to be with you, Hala. So I think Raisi's victory, if he wins tomorrow, is bad news for Iran



VAEZ: Because the little bit of tourism that existed in the Iranian political system is gone. This is probably because the supreme leader wants

to consolidate power in the hands of the hard liners ahead of his potential succession in the coming years.

But it might not be bad news for the West and the U.S. in particular in dealing with Iran. Because I think a more monolithic setup in the Iranian

political system is less burdened down by infighting and therefore is able to deal with the U.S. from a position of strength and with more confidence.

I know that's counter-intuitive but usually hardliners are better at delivering on their promises although they are almost always worse at


GORANI: Sure. So you are saying there wouldn't be that internal tension in Iran and therefore it would be more of a homogenous kind of a group of


But you and others have been quoted as saying that, if by -- really, time is of the essence here, by a few months, if this thing isn't revived by, I

don't know, late summer or the beginning of the autumn, then the window is closing on this Iran nuclear deal.

VAEZ: That is correct. I still believe that the supreme leader wants the deal to be restored while Rouhani is still in office. There is a transition

period between the elections and August 3rd, which is the inauguration of the next president.

That will give them the best of all worlds, in that they can blame Rouhani for any shortcomings that return in going back into the JCPOA deal. But the

incoming president will be able to reap the benefits and get (INAUDIBLE).

But if the deal is not restored by August, probably negotiations wouldn't resume before September or October before the new government is able to

create its cabinet. By that point, Iran's technological advancements would probably reach a point of no return. And the constraints in the JCPOA would

no longer be sufficient for curbing Iran's nuclear program.

GORANI: I have got to ask you about involvement in Syria, heavy involvement, the support of Hezbollah in Lebanon as well.

What would a hardline president mean for Iran's expansionist activities outside of its own borders, both in that respect and when it comes to its -

- the tension between it and Saudi Arabia?

VAEZ: So with the change in presidency in Iran, you usually see a change in style but not much in substance. Iran's regional policy, Iran's

ballistic missiles, these are part of Iran's grand strategy and remain unchanged because also there is an unelected part of Iranian system,

including the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards, that are not affected by electoral cycles.

So (INAUDIBLE) on those issues, we would not see much difference between a Rouhani administration and a Raisi administration, although there will be a

difference in tone.

GORANI: All right, Ali Vaez, thank you very much for joining us. We really appreciate your analysis on this. And we will be following, of course, the

election as it unfolds tomorrow.

After a dramatic raid, Hong Kong police declared a newspaper office a crime scene; 500 officers swarmed the Apple Daily office to arrest executives and

top editors and seize materials.

Apple Daily says the company leaders are accused of colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security. It is a provision of a controversial

law introduced last year, banning sedition and subversion against Beijing.

Police say assets of the paper have been frozen. Apple Daily livestreamed the raid on their Facebook page just as officers blocked employees from

returning to their desks.

Construction flaws are being blamed for the collapse of a Mexican rail line. Independent experts found some of the welding was deficient and a few

sections were even missing metal studs altogether. It was a disastrous accident, 26 people died, 79 were injured. Rafael Romo has more.

Who is to blame for this disaster?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Hi, Hala, let me begin by saying that this is one of the worst accidents in Mexican history, train

accidents in Mexican history.

As for your question, it is still too early to determine because this is only the first preliminary report out of three that are going to be

conducted and presented to the public this summer.

Now there's a lot of unanswered questions here. The report was presented at a press conference by Mexico City's mayor.


ROMO: The Mexico City government hired an independent firm, a Norwegian firm, that is an expert in risk management. This is the very first report

that they released.

Now the report has very damning conclusions, including the fact that some of the metal studs that were supposed to attach the metal beams to the

concrete slab on the train -- that's, of course, the rails -- were poorly welded to the structure.

And that explains the reason why the structure itself collapsed in early May. As you said, 26 people died; 79 or more were injured. And it's a

tragedy that has touched deeply Mexican society because it was supposed to be the crown jewel of Mexico City government.

It was supposed to connect marginalized areas of the city with the best Mexico City has to offer. It had -- when it was in operation, it had a

daily ridership of 385,000 people. Now all of those people are stranded because there is no real alternative with the exception of Mexico City


What is going the happen now?

Well, there is going to be a second preliminary report. At the end of August, they are going release their final report.

Let me also say, Hala, there is another -- two other investigations, one being conducted by the Mexico City attorney's office and another one by the

Mexico College of Civil Engineers, that are also going to take a look at what happened.

Again, still too early to know exactly what happened. But it seems like it was a failure in the structure and deficiencies in how the line was built.

GORANI: Clearly, something went tragically wrong.

What about the families of the victims and the survivors?

What has been their reaction?

I am sure they are desperate for accountability here.

ROMO: There is a lot of anger and indignation, Hala, because many people had complained for months and for years that there was something wrong with

the line. The trains would shake in some areas. They were very noisy.

And so families, as you can imagine, are anxiously waiting for the final result. Now the Mexico City mayor, at the press conference that I mentioned

at the beginning, said that each survivor and the families of those who died are going to be taken care of.

And she's assigned a local official to be in touch with those families. And she said no one is going to be left without help. But again, still many

unanswered questions and a lot of people that are waiting for a final resolution in this tragedy -- Hala.

GORANI: Rafael Romo live in Mexico City, thanks very much.

Still to come tonight, the U.S. and Russia agreed to start a new round of nuclear talks, all while massively boosting their stockpiles. They are not

the only ones. I will speak with the winner of a Nobel Peace Prize winning group about what can be done next. We'll be right back.





GORANI: The Biden-Putin summit was dominated by many disagreements but one area of possible cooperation stood out, that was nuclear dialogue. To

remind you, together the U.S. and Russia own 90 percent of the world's nuclear arsenal.

Following Wednesday's meeting, the two sides released a joint statement, saying, quote, "Today we reaffirmed nuclear war can not be won and must

never be fought," adding that they will, quote, "seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures."

Beatrice Fihn is the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and won A Nobel Peace Prize for her work to drawn

attention to the catastrophic consequences of any use of nuclear weaponry.

Thank you for joining us. First of all, I know you weren't satisfied with the extent to which the leaders agreed to reduce the nuclear arsenal.

What were you expecting?

Were you expecting more?

BEATRICE FIHN, INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Well, I think it is very important that they met. I think the dialogue is extremely

positive, particularly considering the previous administration's approach to multilateralism and diplomacy.

But I think they should not just reaffirm commitment that nuclear war would be bad but also their commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons with

past presidents like Putin, like Medvedev and Obama did.

I think they could have gone further and I think particularly also this is not just about Russia and the United States. This is about every country

in the world's global security. So I really do think the rest of the world had higher expectations, not just on the dialogue but also on commitment to

reducing and eliminating nuclear arsenals.

GORANI: One of the things that you stress is, so long as there are nuclear arsenals of this magnitude, that it creates potentially an arms race, an

appetite for other countries, other big powers -- China, for instance -- also to add to its nuclear arsenal.

FIHN: Yes, we see, for example, China has been increasing. The United Kingdom just announced a 40 percent increase of its nuclear arsenal. It is

a really serious situation.

And experts and scientists say that the risk of nuclear weapons use today is higher than it has ever been. We're talking the same levels as the Cuban

missile ice crisis or the Star Wars years in the '80s. If we don't do anything about this, it will eventually happen.

GORANI: What's the biggest risk in your mind when it comes to, I guess -- an -- you are talking about an accidental nuclear attack or exchange, not a

deliberate one.


FIHN: It could be either, really. We have seen increased tensions. We have seen it between the U.S. and China, between India and Pakistan, between

India and China, between NATO and Russia. We see all of these dynamics happening.

And there are more nuclear armed states than ever but also emerging technologies, the change of methods of warfare, cyber attacks, hacking of

infrastructure, for example. So we see a much more unpredictable and kind of very messy international security situation that can very quickly

escalate and lead to unintended consequences.

So the risks are increasing.

GORANI: So you just -- that was going to be my follow-up, is the concern with cyber attacks, ransomware, all the rest of it. This is weakening

nuclear arms safeguards. We know what needs to be done.

But what can realistically be done to reduce those risks right now?

FIHN: Well, I think that, in January this year, in January 2021, the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons entered into force. This is

the first legally binding treaty that bans nuclear weapons.

Much like we worked with chemical weapons, biological weapons, land mines, cluster munitions, it is a treaty by the majority of states in the world,

aiming to prohibit and stigmatize and pressure Russia, the U.S. and other the nuclear armed states to the table.

So we hope that this treaty, as it grows, we will get more progress also from Russia and the United States, each if they have not yet joined the

treaty. But it creates this kind of pressure, that even Biden himself talked about how to change Russia's behavior yesterday. It's pressure from

external parties and the rest of the world.


GORANI: Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of the Nobel Peace Prize- winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, thank you for joining us from Geneva. We appreciate your time this evening.

We'll be right back. Stay with CNN.




GORANI: Welcome back.

To the Ivory Coast, where the former president Laurent Gbagbo has just returned home after a decade in exile. He was thronged by supporters after

arriving in Abidjan. He was sent to The Hague in 2011 to face charges of crimes against humanity, becoming the first former head of state ever to go

on trial at the ICC.

In a surprise verdict, he was acquitted, a decision that was upheld in March.

In other news, some of the world's biggest football stars have publicly snubbed sponsors at the Euro 2020, which is nearing the end of its first

week. France's Paul Pogba removed a Heineken bottle at a news conference after Tuesday's match.

Earlier, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo removed two bottles of Coca-Cola as he sat down to take questions, then held up a bottle of water instead.

The Italian Manuel Locatelli also got in on the act, moving two Coke bottles. Lots of bottles being moved around. Europe football's governing

body is reminding teams they have contractual obligations toward tournament sponsors.

Some players don't care.

The football world watched in horror last weekend when Denmark's star Christian Eriksen suffered a near fatal cardiac arrest on the pitch. Today,

as he recovers in hospital, his teammates, rivals and fans paid him tribute.

Before today's match between Denmark and Belgium, a giant banner with Eriksen's number 10 on it was brought onto the field. In the 10th minute,

play was stopped in his honor and the crowd and players clapped to support him.

Such a sweet gesture.

China has successfully launched three veteran astronauts into space. The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft took off this morning ascending to the country's new

space station named the Heavenly Palace. CNN's David Culver has more on China's very rapidly expanding space program.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three astronauts bound for the Heavenly Palace, that's China's space station still under construction.


CULVER (voice-over): From a launch pad in the Gobi Desert, the rocket ship dubbed "the Divine Vessel" blasting off, designed to arrive at its

destination in just six and a half hours.

But at a total length of 55 feet and a living space of just 50 cubic meters these astronauts are going into orbit in a capsule a bit larger than a city

bus. Any claustrophobic thought surely forgotten when the men do two planned space walks to install equipment of the exterior of this space


Inside they'll test the tech and the living area and run experiments. Two more laboratory modules expected to be launched in upcoming missions with

the aims to have its space station fully operational by the end of next year.

China wants its own because the U.S. government barred it from participating in the international space station project. China says their

Heavenly Palace will be truly international.

ZHOU JIANPING, CHIEF DESIGNER, CHINA'S MANNED SPACE PROGRAM (through translator): Foreign astronauts are certainly going to enter the Chinese

space station one day. There are a number of countries that have expressed a desire to do that and we will be open to that in the future.

CULVER (voice-over): In just the past seven months China has put a rover on the moon and one on Mars being becoming the second country in history

after the U.S. to land a rover on the Red Planet.

They also plan to send humans to the moon in the 2030s. But for now these three men will spend three months building the foundation of the space


NIE HAISHENG, SHENZHOU-12 MISSION COMMANDER (through translator): We will obey orders and instructions and keep calm while meticulously carrying out

the mission.

CULVER (voice-over): Cheese experts likewise confident in this mission and its safe return to Earth as the vessel carries precious cargo, along with

the pride of a nation rapidly advancing its work in this new frontier -- David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


GORANI: If you are planning an engagement, look away. What was believed to be the world's third largest diamond was found earlier this month in

Botswana. It's 1,098 carats. It was presented to the president of Botswana by the Debswana Diamond Company.

The president said it is the largest gem-quality diamond found since they were discovered in Botswana in 1967. He says the proceeds will be used to

advance national development in the country.

I want to end the show by wishing my producer Nyall McDonald (ph) a very happy move to Ireland, where he is going to be engaging in new television

adventures. This is going -- no, he is saying hard drop.

But I am wishing you good luck now. You are wonderful to work with. Thank you.

Where is he?

Do I see him on air?

Oh, he is hiding. Don't do it.

Nyall McDonald (ph), we had a great time working with you and it was an absolute pleasure.

Thanks for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.