CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Diplomats Say Pressure on Iran to Curb Nuclear Program Finally Yielding Results; US President Holding Out Hope for Diplomatic Solution; Israel's Plans for Iran; Oil Prices Fell as News of Talks Spread; Proposal for Safer Power Gaining Steam in Japan; Oreo Cookie Turns 100; Prince Harry's Caribbean Tour; Super Tuesday; Nuclear Achievements; Chelsea in Action Again

Aired March 6, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, the high stakes race for the White House. Republicans across 10 U.S. states are voting for a challenger to take on President Obama.

ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: It is Super Tuesday, a make or break day for Republican Party politics in the United States.

This hour, has any one candidate done enough to seal the deal?

Also ahead --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Make no mistake, when all else fails, we will act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: A stark warning to Iran -- make no mistake, the U.S. wants to talk, but if all else fails, military action is an option.

And he may be a prince, but can he reign supreme against the man known simply as the Lightning Bolt?

One day, 10 states and more than 400 delegates at stake. It's called Super Tuesday for a good reason. We begin with the single most important day so far in the Republican race for the White House, 2012.

From Georgia, in the Deep South, all the way north to Alaska, voters are choosing a candidate to take on President Barack Obama in November.

Now, frontrunner Mitt Romney is looking to seal the deal once and for all. But the other three main candidates insist they are all in it for the long haul.

Well, we're going to get the very latest on the voting in a moment.

CNN's Dana Bash is standing by in the state of Ohio, considered the most crucial of all the contests today.

Before we get to Dana, though, I want to set this in context for you. This is a big deal. Nearly 40 percent of the delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination are up for grabs today. So it's easy to see why Super Tuesday can make or break campaigns.

But as Jonathan Mann reminds us, this year, it's, well, just a little bit more complicated.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For months, Republican in state after state have been holding primary elections or caucuses, culminating at a national convention in August when the party officially selects the candidate who will take on President Barack Obama in November's general election.

The Super Tuesday contests have traditionally given candidates a much needed boost or knocked them out of the race entirely. But this year, Super Tuesday has fewer than half as many states as 2008, the last time Republicans chose a candidate. So results aren't expected to be nearly as dramatic or decisive.

Journalist Dan Rather covered politics for 40 years.

DAN RATHER, HDNET'S "DAN RATHER REPORTS": It will mean that the nominating process is over. Far from it. I still believe this will go at least deep into May and maybe right through the early part of June.

MANN: Still, it's a big battle and a few states are key.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people of Ohio, you all know this is the biggest prize on Super Tuesday.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But, obviously, if I got the nod from the people of Ohio, that would send a big statement.

MANN: The latest Ohio poll shows challenger Rick Santorum in a neck- and-neck race against frontrunner Mitt Romney. Another candidate is looking, though, in a different direction.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to win Georgia, I think, to be credible in the race.

MANN: Third place challenger, Newt Gingrich, is hoping to revive his campaign in the conservative South by winning his home state, which has the most delegates, 76, up for grabs today.

PATRICIA MURPHY, FOUNDER, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: But he also, I think, needs to show some strength in other states. You can't just win in your own backyard and say, OK, great, now I'm ready to be the president.

MANN: If Gingrich wins Georgia and picks up delegates in other states, too, it will only add to the muddle that many Republicans expect.

Romney can likely count on Massachusetts, where he was governor, and neighboring Vermont and an easy win in Virginia, where Santorum and Gingrich didn't even collect enough supporters' signatures to get their names on the ballots.

Santorum is expected to do well in Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Ron Paul is predicting he will win, too, in North Dakota, Alaska and Idaho.

(on camera): The first time Mitt Romney ran for president four years ago, he had to drop out after Super Tuesday because he did so poorly. This time, we could see all four of the major candidates continue, no matter what the outcome. After Super Tuesday, get ready for a long slog -- back to you.

ANDERSON: All right. Let's get more on this high drama, then, shall we, in Ohio, where Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum -- you saw the numbers -- they are in a statistical dead heat.

Dana Bash joining us again live from Mount Saint Joseph, in what, Dana, is the dollar a bellwether state for the election come November this year, right?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. In the general election, no president has won the White House in the last 12 cycles without winning this state of Ohio. I mean you just cannot overstate how important it is. Which is why it is just as important this time around, when you're looking at the Republican field, because what they are trying to argue to the electorate, particularly the Republican electorate, Rick Santorum and -- and Mitt Romney in particular, is I am the candidate that will be best suited to oppose Barack Obama in the general election.

So it's kind of hard for either of them to argue that, if they don't win their own party in this important state of Ohio.

So the fact that it is neck and neck, the fact that -- that Mitt Romney has to defend himself as somebody who claims to be or had claimed to be the frontrunner really tells you a lot about the state of this race, the roller coaster of this race.

ANDERSON: Yes, right. It's going to be a long night.

Dana, thank you for that.

Dana Bash there in Ohio.

This is a race that has been full of twists and turns right from the start, with frontrunners one day falling behind the next and dark horses surging out of the shadows.

Here's a reminder of some of the highlights.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": A dramatic night in Iowa. We're watching what's going on.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Game on.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, this is a -- this is a campaign where America wins. We're going to change the White House and get America back on track.

Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire with 39.3 percent.

ROMNEY: The president has run out of ideas. Now he's running out of excuses.

Winning him seven delegates.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama can get reelected after this disaster, just think how radical he would be in a second term.

Mitt Romney wins Florida with 39.3 percent.

ROMNEY: You know, three years ago this week, a newly elected President Obama faced the American people.

ROMNEY: And he said, look, if I can't turn this economy around in three years, I'll be looking at a one term proposition. And we're here to collect.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Rick Santorum wins Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado. They're calling it a GOP stunner.

SANTORUM: Tonight, we had an opportunity to see what a campaign looks like.

SANTORUM: This is a more accurate representation, frankly, of what the fall race will look like.

ROMNEY: The first state to call it. Thank you, Arizona. A great victory in Arizona tonight. And thank you, Michigan. What a win. This is a big night. Thank you, guys.

ROMNEY: This is an election about liberty. That's what this election is about. This is an election about the soul of America.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, the longer the nominating race drags on, the better for a man called Barack Obama, the Republicans' eventual opponent, of course. He can spend his time looking presidential while the GOP candidates fight it out.

Well, today, Mr. Obama told Americans that he is working hard to help the economy .

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are still millions of Americans who can't find a job. There are millions more who are having a tough time making the rent or the mortgage, paying for gas, groceries. So our job in Washington isn't to sit back and do nothing. And it's certainly not to stand in the way of the y. Right now, we've got to do everything we can to speed it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right, well, our next guest believes that the only clear winner this Super Tuesday may, indeed, be President Obama.

John Avlon joins us now from New York to explain.

He's a CNN contributor and senior political columnist for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast."

He's forgotten more about U.S. politics than we will ever know -- John, before we talk about why you believe that Obama is -- is the champion in all of this, let's talk about Super Tuesday.

Has Mitt Romney done enough, do you think, to seal this deal?

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No. And that's partly because this Super Tuesday is different than all others. In the past, Super Tuesdays had enough states and enough winner-take-all states that someone could seal the nomination with a strong Super Tuesday showing. That's what Bill Clinton did. That's what George W. Bush did. It's traditionally been the way of our politics.

This year, it's proportional. And so therefore, even though Mitt Romney can have a very strong night tomorrow night, he will not have the delegates to clinch the nomination.

So this becomes more about momentum than math.

ANDERSON: Bring it on, it seems, is what the current White House incumbent thinks.

Have a listen, John, to this exchange between a reporter and Barack Obama earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney has criticized you on Iran and said hope is not a foreign policy. He also said that you are America's most feckless president since Carter.

OBAMA: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you like to say to Mr. Romney?

OBAMA: Good luck tonight.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, really.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Really.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Ah --

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: He's been there, he's done it and, boy, does he look as if he's enjoying this.

AVLON: Well, you know, there's been a lot for President Obama to enjoy. I mean part of the problem we've seen in this very polarized environment the Republican Party is in and has forced its candidates to go through is that they're forcing their candidates to reach out to the far right, pandering to the outer reaches of politics, to win these primaries and caucuses.

The result is, is that it's been amazing. It's been an all -- uniformly negative race, a huge number of negative ads. And the positive approval ratings of all these candidates have gone down dramatically.

President Obama has benefited very much by comparison. He looks presidential. He looks like he's focusing on the job at hand, rather than these sort of internecine squabbles that make everybody look small.

And so the problem the Republicans face right now is not only have they burned down the big tent, but that ever -- whoever emerges from this race is going to be bloodied and bruised. And it may not even not be over until Tampa.

ANDERSON: Not only will these candidates be bloodied and bruised, I think most of our viewers will be watching tonight and saying, how damaged is the Republican Party as a whole by this infighting, given that, at the end of the day, come November, it is the Republicans versus Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee?

AVLON: Significantly. I mean this is a problem of polarization. The Republican Party had a hugely successful landslide win in 2010. But those mid-term elections are comparatively low turnout, high intensity. The Tea Party movement that propelled them to a Congressional win won't be representative of the kind of massive turnout that comes in a general election with presidential candidates at the top of the ticket.

So there is a problem the Republican Parties are going to have because they can't just focus on playing the far right. They need to reach out to the center and win over Independent voters, the very same folks who have been alienated by a lot of the right-wing rhetoric we've seen in this process, necessarily.

So whoever gets this nomination is going to have to immediately pivot back and focus on winning over moderates in the middle class. That's ultimately who decides who wins or loses elections in America. That is a tall order, given the damage they've done in this sort of cage match to win the nomination today.

ANDERSON: Their standing on the domestic political scene for their domestic voters, of course, is hugely, all important.

AVLON: Yes.

ANDERSON: Are we any clearer what sort of profile any of these candidates for the Republican Party would want on the international stage?

AVLON: This is one of the real problems with the way we elect presidents in this country, because, of course, the job of foreign policy makes up an enormous amount of what a president actually does. But they end up campaigning almost exclusively on domestic policy, because that's the audience they're speaking to.

So what we've had a lot is saber rattling on Iran, invoking Ronald Reagan without specifically saying what extending that foreign policy in a post-cold world -- world war might mean. We've got -- actually, none of the candidates really rallying behind the Bush doctrine in the wake of Iraq and Afghanistan. Even the fervor for that kind of a proactive approach in foreign policy has faded with a certain degree of war weariness.

So you have all the candidates accusing President Obama of being weak on foreign policy, but not saying specifically what they might do differently. And it's one of the weakness of the debate we've had to date. It's been relatively fact-free. It's about narrative more than actually specific proposals to solve problems.

ANDERSON: John Avlon, it's a pleasure.

Come back. Join us again. Help us --

AVLON: Any time.

ANDERSON: -- sort this all out, as we move toward November 2012.

John Avlon for you tonight.

And stay with CNN for complete coverage and analysis of the results from all 10 states starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, midnight here in London, just about three hours from now, all part of our America's Choice coverage of the 2012 U.S. presidential election. It is extensive. You would expect nothing less from us.

And one of those did you know moments for you before we take a short break. Two of these states voting in Super Tuesday are involved in a generations old dispute over who claims the title of birthplace of presidents. Now, officially, eight former presidents were born in Virginia, seven in Ohio. However, Ohio lays claim to one William Henry Harrison and he spent most of his life there. And if you count those who were born before "The Declaration of Independence," five Virginia presidents are discounted for, not technically having born in the U.S. as we know it.

So Ohio winning outright, though, in fairness, all that information coming from one of my colleagues who was born in the state.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Still to come here on CNN, the heroic measures one mother took to save her kids from a deadly tornado.

Chelsea's first game post-Villas-Boas is in play right now. "WORLD SPORT'S" Don Riddell will be in the house with an update for you.

And a head start for Prince Harry -- how his race with Jamaica's champion sprinter turned out.

All that and more coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the world's news leader.

I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Now, as the pressure mounts on Iran, the country has been given another chance to prove that it's not developing a nuclear weapon. Six U.N. Security Council members have agreed to take up an offer by Iran to restart negotiations over its nuclear program. Now, those talks broke down last -- in January last year. No date has been set for their resumption.

But speaking in Washington last night, Israel's prime minister said that time was running out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Because Israel has waited -- patiently waited for the international community to resolve this issue. We've waited for diplomacy to work. We've waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Are these talks, then, an empty gesture by Iran or a serious attempt to reengage with the West?

Later this hour, we'll get the thoughts of our correspondents in Washington, Jerusalem and at the UN's nuclear watchdog headquarters in Vienna.

Before that, a look at some of the other stories that are connecting our world tonight.

And five alleged members of a top computer hacking group are now under arrest. The suspects in the U.S. and Europe are charged with conspiracy in a number of cyber attacks, including those on Fox Broadcasting and Sony Pictures. Authorities say they were led to the suspects by a leader within the organization who's been secretly working with government officials.

Well, a jury has convicted former financier, R. Allen Stanford, of running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. The verdict comes after a five week trial in Houston in Texas. Now, three years ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission first accused Stanford of bilking thousands of investors from more than 100 countries. Prosecutors brought criminal charges against him in June, 2009.

Opposition groups, reportedly 39 civilians were killed across Syria on Tuesday. The deaths include 23 people in the devastated city of Homs. Video posted online appears to show smoke pouring from a home there after it was hit by mortars and tank fire. Jacques Beres, co-founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres, told CNN about the horrors of operating on children injured in Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACQUES BERES, CO-FOUNDER, MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES (through translator): I had a little boy arrive, a lovely child, more of an angel. He had an open wound 40 centimeters long and 20 centimeters deep, almost cut in half. How horrific.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Lying about traumatic surgery may cost an Egyptian politician his job. A spokesman for the ultra conservative Al-Nour Party says Anwar al-Bilkimy told legislators that his face was bandaged because he'd been attacked by gunmen. But the party found that he had plastic surgery on his nose. The party forbids such surgeries and forced him to resign. If his resignation isn't accepted, the party's 120 members will ask parliament to dismiss him.

An heroic mother has lost both her legs protecting her children from a deadly storm in the United States. As two tornadoes moved through Henryville in Indiana, Stephanie Decker shielded her two kids by lying on top of them as their home was ripped apart. Decker's children escaped without a scratch thanks to their mom, who explained how she would do anything to protect them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY WLKY)

STEPHANIE DECKER, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I was reaching around holding them and trying to keep everything away from them so it didn't hit them. I had two steel beams on my legs. And I couldn't -- I couldn't move. I was stuck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: That remarkable story rounding out your headlines here on CNN for the time being.

Now, the favorite sport in the United States is facing a scandal. This National Football League coach suspended on a (INAUDIBLE) that paid out bounties for injuring opposing players.

And they don't look a day over 99 -- how Oreos have stayed popular for so long.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, Chelsea are in action tonight, for the first time since manager Andre Villas-Boas was sacked on Sunday. Now, they're playing a second tier, as it were, to side for Birmingham. And it's the fifth round of what is the English FA Cup replay.

Now the Chelsea players may have seen the back of Villas-Boas, but the interim manager has told them that they owe it to the club, the fans and to themselves to rescue their season.

Well, boy, do they need a win. And we're going to talk about that shortly.

But there's another game going on tonight, which is probably a lot more interesting given the level of what's going on. This is a Champion's League game and it's Arsenal 4-0 down in the first leg against --

DON RIDDELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: AC Milan.

ANDERSON: Oh.

RIDDELL: You don't remember the first leg?

AC Milan were all over Arsenal. Arsenal were just terrible at the San Siro. They kicked off tonight, what, about an hour and a half ago, with Arsene Wegner saying we've only got an -- a 5 percent chance that we can do it.

To be fair, he gave his team a chance. And in the first half, they came out and scored three goals, absolutely phenomenal.

Milan were absolutely reeling. Van Persie, Rosicky and Koscielny all scored for Arsenal. There's about five minutes to go. Milan are still 4-3 ahead on aggregate. That is an absolutely thrilling game.

Arsenal, they've got a few minutes. They could still send it round. And remember, Milan have form when it comes to throwing away massive leads. I saw them do it in the Champions League final against Liverpool when they were 3-0 up in 2005. They were 4-1 up against Deportivo de La Coruna in the quarterfinals of the Champions League about eight years ago. And they blew that, as well, so --

(LAUGHTER)

RIDDELL: -- they're hanging on.

ANDERSON: My eyes are smarting as a -- as a London football fan who doesn't support the Gooners, as they're called. But sort of -- oh, well, I don't know what you -- what do you think?

Even if you don't support the team in the Champions League, you kind of want a British team to go through.

But five minutes to go, what do you think?

A chance?

RIDDELL: Ah, there's definitely --

ANDERSON: A chance?

RIDDELL: -- a chance. Definitely a chance.

ANDERSON: Whoo. Don Riddell talking to you tonight.

RIDDELL: Yes.

ANDERSON: Chelsea, what's the latest there?

RIDDELL: Well, as you say, they really need a win tonight. They fired Andre Villas-Boas. They've been on a terrible run of form. They've got Roberto Di Matteo in. They're playing Birmingham City in the FA Cup tonight. It looks like they're going to go through to the next round. Juan Mata and Raul Meireles have scored for Chelsea tonight. They're 2-0 up.

They really need to stay in this competition. They really need to get a decent run of form together. But remember, they're outside of the Champions League places in the Premier League. They play the leaders, Manchester City, in a couple of weeks time. And this time next week, they're also in the Champions League. They're behind to the Italian side, Napoli. So they really need to get going and under Roberto Di Matteo, it looks like they're making a good start.

ANDERSON: Let's switch codes and go into the States.

What's this Bountygate all about?

RIDDELL: It's incredible. I mean this is the talking point in U.S. sports at the moment. The NFL is a huge sport in America. It's really the sport that everybody gets excited about. NFL is a huge brand. Its teams are among the richest sports teams in the world.

ANDERSON: Sure.

RIDDELL: But this scandal is -- Bountygate, as you call it, basically, the New Orleans Saints are being investigated because they had a pool going, or a -- a sort of bonus pool whereby if you could injure a player from the opposing team, then you'd get paid for it.

So I mean the freight (ph), it involved $1,500 for a knockout, $1,000 for a cart-off. Really quite unsavory. I mean it's a weird one for the NFL, because it really is marketed on being a tough, no-nonsense contact sport. And the --

ANDERSON: You don't bet on it.

RIDDELL: -- and the fans love it. But it's rather unsavory --

ANDERSON: Yes.

RIDDELL: -- to see that players are being encouraged to go out and deliberately take out opposing players.

ANDERSON: Let's just now one thing, these are allegations, are they, at present?

RIDDELL: Well --

ANDERSON: Only allegations --

RIDDELL: -- they're --

ANDERSON: -- or?

RIDDELL: -- they're being investigated. I mean it --

ANDERSON: Right.

RIDDELL: -- it looks as though it happened. And this defensive coordinator, Greg Williams, is at the center of it. He's actually now at another team, but he was with the Rams when it happened then. He's admitted that he was involved in it. He was also involved with the Redskins and the Titans before that. It looks like both those the most will be investigated, as well.

And so this really is kind of going to ripple all the way throughout the sport.

ANDERSON: Maybe so.

Don Riddell in the house.

"WORLD SPORT" an hour from now.

Stick with us for that.

Still to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD, as world leaders agree to resume talks with Iran, we'll ask whether Israel is willing to listen, get involved, or is a military strike now a foregone conclusion? That's an important story.

Then, a year after a triple disaster struck Japan, efforts underway in Tokyo for a safer energy program to prevent the sort of disasters that we saw there from ever happening again.

And Prince Harry takes on a champion during his tour of Jamaica. You've got to stick around for this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN out of London just after half past nine, here. Let's get you a check of the world news headlines.

High stakes in US politics on this Super Tuesday. Voters in 10 states choosing a Republican presidential nominee. Front-runner Mitt Romney hopes to secure enough delegates to seal the deal, but analysts say that is not likely.

Six UN Security Council members have agreed to take up an offer by Iran to restart negotiations over its nuclear program. US president Barack Obama said a peaceful solution was in everybody's interest.

US investigators say they've arrested five suspects who are leaders of computer hacking groups. They say -- Justice Department officials say the alleged hackers are associated with the groups LulzSec and Anonymous, groups accused of attacking companies and government agencies.

And former financier R. Allen Stanford is guilty of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. A Houston, Texas jury convicted him Tuesday after a five-week trial. Prosecutors have said Stanford defrauded about 30,000 investors worldwide.

Those are your headlines.

We're returning now to Iran, a story that CNN is covering from every angle, as you would expect of us. In a moment, I'm going to speak to Elise Labott in Washington, where once again talk of a possible military strike has been the hot topic of conversation. And we're going to head to Jerusalem, where my colleague Fionnuala Sweeney is standing by.

First, though, Matthew Chance, who is for you tonight at the UN's atomic watchdog in Vienna.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as discussions here at the UN's nuclear watchdog agency focus on Iran, it seems the pressure to curb that country's nuclear program is finally starting to yield results.

Diplomats say high-level talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council at the UN, plus Germany, the P5 plus 1, are expected to resume shortly, possibly as early as next month after a gap of more than a year.

Catherine Ashton is the European Commission foreign policy chief and the coordinator of the talks.

CATHERINE ASHTON, EU FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPRESENTATIVE: Today I have replied to Dr. Jalili's letter of the 14th of February. On behalf of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, I have offered to resume talks with Iran.

We hope that we will be able to now pursue with Iran constructive engagement with the purpose of addressing the international communities concerns about the nuclear program. We will, in the course of the next few days, decide the dates and the venue.

CHANCE: Crucially, Iran appears to have dropped its conditions for nuclear talks. It also appears to have been softening its handling of UN nuclear inspectors.

Iran now says it will allow UN teams to visit Parchin, the suspected nuclear weapons research facility they've been prevented from inspecting in recent weeks.

Well, Western officials are welcoming the Iranian moves, which come amid growing economic pressure on the country, but they also caution that the onus will very much be on Iran to convince the international community at these talks that their nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes.

Matthew Chance, CNN, at the IAEA in Vienna.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, in a moment, I want to get the all- important reaction to the resumption of these talks from Fionn, who is in Jerusalem. First, though, let's speak to our World Affairs reporter, Elise Labott at the State Department.

Elise, the US president still holding out hope, then, for a diplomatic solution at this point, right?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS REPORTER: That's right, Becky, saying that Iran is really feeling the heat from these sanctions and they haven't even really taken full effect, because that oil embargo that the US and the Europeans have put into effect won't really take full effect until the end of June.

So, President Obama, after meeting with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu saying today in a press conference that there is some time for diplomacy to have a chance before everyone needs to take that all-important decision as to whether to launch a military strike.

Let's take a listen to what the president had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My expectations, given the consequences of inaction for them, the severe sanctions that are now being applied, the huge toll it's taking on their economy, the degree of isolation that they're feeling right now, which is unprecedented, they understand that the world's community means business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: That said, Becky, a lot of pressure here in Washington for President Obama, the Obama administration to lay out some so-called red lines about when Iran has reached the point of no return and a military strike would be really important to go after to avoid a nuclear program.

President Obama saying to the Israeli lobby just the other day that his policy is not containing Iran, but preventing Iran.

ANDERSON: All right. We did, though, hear from the US Defense Secretary today, and by no means did he mince his words, Elise.

LABOTT: That's right. As I said, a lot of pressure on the administration to lay out the idea that it has Israel's back, that Israel needs to defend itself, that it has the sovereign right to do so.

But if the US president feels that Iran, the intelligence shows that Iran is going after a nuclear weapon, that the United States will, in fact, act. Let's listen to what Defense Secretary Panetta told a congressional panel today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, US DEFENSE SECRETARY: No greater threat exists to the security of Israel and to the entire region and, indeed, to the United States, then a nuclear armed Iran.

Of course, we prefer the diplomatic path. And as the prime minister himself has said, military action is the last alternative when all else fails.

But make no mistake. When all else fails, we will act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Leon Panetta, there. Elise with us tonight from Washington.

Fionnuala in Jerusalem for you. Fionn, two US senators tell CNN that at a meeting they attended earlier today, Israel's prime minister told them that no decision had been taken over to whether to strike Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu, though, wasn't so forthcoming when CNN asked him that very same question. Let's just, for our viewers' sake, have a listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Prime Minister, there's a report --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No questions, please.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: There's a report --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No questions, please.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: -- that Israel have already made the decision to strike Iran --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No questions, please.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Will you talk about the truth of that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you --

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: My decision is not to talk about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Fionn, the floor is yours. As this trip draws to a close, do you think we're any clearer about Israel's plans?

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a very good question. Judging by the Israeli media here, they are of many different opinions and colors of views in terms of how Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama yesterday met and achieved the goals of either side.

But certainly what seems to have happened is that there is a kind of rapprochement. But on the surface, while there is this rapprochement, underneath, nothing really has changed.

And by saying that he hasn't really made a decision yet, as reported there by two US senators, and that's also what Israeli media is reporting Benjamin Netanyahu said to President Obama, by not saying he's made -- he hasn't made a decision yet, that in effect leaves the situation wide open still.

So, you have the United Sates on one hand saying, Becky, that they're prepared to go through this window of opportunity to see if sanctions and diplomacy work, and on the other hand, you have almost a good cop/bad cop situation with Israel saying, well, we will do whatever we need to do and we decide we need to do in order to protect our country.

But what's happening here within Israel, there are some who are saying that Benjamin Netanyahu is playing this too much as a Jewish survival question, an Israeli question based on the Holocaust, referring to that in his AIPAC speech late last night.

While others, such as Ehud Barak, the defense minister, prefers to portray it more as a regional issue, that this is not only a threat to Israel, it's a threat also to the rest of the region.

ANDERSON: Fionnuala Sweeney in Jerusalem. Fionn, thank you for that. And Elise, out of Washington, both of you, thank you for providing us what is a complicated narrative, and one that will continue.

And let's not forget, this story is not just about the Middle East. As tensions rise, so does the cost of oil, and that means higher prices at the pumps for each and every one of us. Now, the good news, at least, is the price of Brent Crude oil actually fell back today as news of the talks with Iran spread. All the more reason why a lasting diplomatic solution is so, so important.

Coming up, one year after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Japan, a proposal to prevent a similar disaster from every happening again that is suddenly gaining steam. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, it's quite incredible to think about it, but it's been a year since a massive earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a devastating tsunami, which took out a nuclear plant, causing an environmental catastrophe.

Well, that disaster killed 15,000 people and wiped out entire villages. A year on, the country is still picking up the pieces, but as many Japanese focus on rebuilding, others are devoting their energy to preventing another disaster like that one, and one new proposal for safer power is suddenly gaining steam. CNN's Kyung Lah reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He doesn't look like a man leading a rebellion, but Tokyo vice governor Naoki Inose is taking on a once unthinkable giant, the power monolith TEPCO, owner of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

"It always begins with one person," says Inose, "but everything starts moving once you have public opinion behind you."

Public opinion is certainly behind anyone who is against TEPCO in the wake of the nuclear disaster. Tens of thousands have rallied again and again this year for a new energy policy in Japan, something most people never thought about before, even though 30 percent of Japan's energy has traditionally come from nuclear plants.

The vice governor believes he now has the momentum to build a natural gas facility that would generate as much electricity as a nuclear reactor for Tokyo. It would cut the city's reliance on TEPCO, which currently holds a virtual monopoly on energy in the nation's capital.

LAH (on camera): This type of large-scale anti-nuclear protest was once unthinkable in Japan, a country that rarely challenges authority. But since the Fukushima disaster, the public has changed, and with that, the state of play for city and business leaders.

LAH (voice-over): This land will be home to a solar farm, built not by the government, but with private money. The CEO of Japan tech giant SoftBank wants to help build enough solar farms by 2020 to switch off the country's dependence on nuclear power.

Nuclear energy watchdogs welcome the challenge to traditional energy providers and say other nations should not forget Japan's mistakes.

EDWIN LYMAN, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: I think the chief lesson is that nuclear power is a very unforgiving technology and it requires a very stringent regulatory system and excellence in operations and maintenance, and that simply is not a lesson that utilities around the world seem to have absorbed.

LAH: TEPCO tells CNN it is aware of the long-term anxiety over nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, particularly from leaders like Tokyo's vice governor. TEPCO says it is focusing on containing the disaster and will help form a new energy policy with the government and public.

A new Japanese public, which believes it can no longer afford to pay the price for complacency over nuclear energy.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: As the country pours resources into rebuilding homes and businesses, all the money in the world couldn't replace what some families have lost. And tomorrow, we're going to meet a group of young people hoping to change that at least a little bit.

They are working to restore personal photographs damaged by the tsunami waters, and the results, they say, are simply priceless. How they are doing that, tomorrow at this time.

Tonight, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, Prince Harry takes his mark in Jamaica. We'll have a live report from there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Somebody or something is 100 years old today. It's the Oreo cookie. It's been around for 100 years, and as Felicia Taylor reports, there's still no consensus on the best way to eat it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: There's so much frosty cream in between.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aren't Oreo kids lucky? Aren't Oreo mothers great?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been an important part of childhood for generations, the venerable Oreo cookie, a product with such culture longevity that, to this day, people still talk about their favorite way to eat it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tilt your head at a 45 degree angle to make sure you lick all the cream off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I take the cream, and I lick it down the middle. Notice that there's now a streak that runs through it.

TAYLOR: The Oreo is one of the world's most popular brands, with $1.5 billion in global annual revenue. It's now sold in over 100 countries, and it all began here, in New York City, at what is now the Chelsea Market.

TAYLOR (on camera): A hundred years ago on this very spot, the first Oreo cookie was made. This, of course, was the original Nabisco Bakery, the parent company responsible for those classic chocolate wafers joined together by a vanilla cream filling.

JOHN GHINGO, KRAFT FOODS: When Oreos began being sold 100 years ago, they were sold in tins like this in bulk, and the very first Oreo cookie sales were recorded in Hoboken, New Jersey on March 6, 1912.

TAYLOR: It's not just Oreos that have stood the test of time. Corn Flakes have been around since 1896. Campbell's Soup was founded in 1877. And Jell-O, this one's over 110 years old.

TAYLOR (voice-over): Marketing experts say it takes skill for a brand to last through good times and bad.

ALLEN ADAMSON, LANDOR ASSOCIATES: They've been able to balance consistency and change. It's original, it's authentic, but they've kept it fresh, they've kept pace with the changing times.

TAYLOR: Indeed. Social media's now an important part of Nabisco's marketing mix. Oreo has its own Facebook page with more than 25 million followers.

TAYLOR (on camera): You made a mess.

GHINGO: I did make a mess.

(LAUGHTER)

GHINGO: I did.

TAYLOR (voice-over): Kraft, the owner of the Oreo brand, works hard to keep the product fresh at its research kitchens in New Jersey.

GHINGO: What you'll see here is a variety of different flavors. Ideas -- some of them, we've heard from our consumers over the years --

TAYLOR (on camera): Rainbow sherbert.

GHINGO: Rainbow sherbert, you have toasted coconut, lemon, orange, tangerine.

TAYLOR (voice-over): Kraft also takes care to cater to each new global market.

GHINGO: It's a smaller pack size to fit the size of the smaller stores in China.

TAYLOR: But across the world, one thing stays the same. The classic way to eat an Oreo.

GHINGO: Twist open the cookie.

TAYLOR (on camera): Twist open the cookie.

GHINGO: You might want to lick out a little bit of the cream. And then, if you're a milk fan --

TAYLOR: OK.

GHINGO: -- you can dunk it right in the milk.

TAYLOR: Who knew I'd be making an Oreo cookie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thumbs up.

TAYLOR: This is better than straight out of the package for sure.

TAYLOR (voice-over): No matter how you make it or how you eat it, one thing is clear: to last 100 years, you must be one smart cookie.

GHINGO (with mouth full): It's a good cookie.

(LAUGHTER)

TAYLOR: Felicia Taylor, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: How does a prince eat an Oreo, do you think? Or any member of the royal family? Prince Harry's probably got no time for snacking, he's a very prince at the moment. He's touring the Caribbean to mark his grandmother's Diamond Jubilee as queen.

He's met with the prime minister, and he's gotten some coaching from the world's fastest man. Not Max Foster. He's our correspondent. He's in Kingston, and he's joining us, now, with the day's events. Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what a day, it really was. It started off this morning at Usain Bolt's training track, and he finished off the afternoon hugging the prime minister, would you believe, Becky? Let's have a look at a full day of events, let's say.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER (voice-over): The royal and the runner, hitting it off immediately.

(CROWD CHEERING)

FOSTER: But neither in any mood to lose. Someone suggested Usain Bolt looked a bit scared.

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE HARRY, BRITAIN: Because I'm right here.

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: So, let the competition begin.

(CROWD CHEERS)

FOSTER: Harry liked winning even if he was allowed to. And his reward? Signed memorabilia.

USAIN BOLT, RUNNER: He was laid back, very cool. He's a professional.

FOSTER (on camera): We need to ask you the crucial question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.

FOSTER: Who won?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. It was a tie.

FOSTER: No, come on!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I have to give the nod to Prince Harry. I have to. Because he came here and he was just so natural. Usually, with royal visits, we have to be so proper. And we were proper, but in context for where we were.

FOSTER: Now, Harry's off for a private chat with Usain Bolt. Loads of joshing, it was a fantastic little occasion, the best on the tour so far.

FOSTER (voice-over): From Harry the sportsman to Harry the statesman and a surprisingly warm welcome from Portia Simpson-Miller, the prime minister who wants to break Jamaican ties with the royal family. The two had lunch and seemed to get on famously.

PORTIA SIMPSON-MILLER, PRIME MINISTER OF JAMAICA: He's very, very nice. Very, very nice. A wonderful person. And just his grandmother, Her Majesty, when she visited. She's so warm. We're all in love with her. And his father is -- they're all very warm.

We're just looking at a different form of government. We came to -- it's a long journey from slavery to our emancipation, and then to adult suffrage to our independence. This is just another page of political history.

FOSTER: Harry, then, comes to Jamaica, charms the republican prime minister, and beats the fastest man in the world. The queen, whom he's representing here, must be rather proud.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well, he really is triumphant. This was the big test, I really think, today, Becky, because meeting the Jamaican prime minister and her talking about her loving him and having this wonderful lunch, that was the success, really, of the tour.

And he even managed to squeeze in a visit to an inner-city school today and also a meeting with Bob Marley's wife, and she actually gave him a scarf that belonged to Bob Marley. He used it for the last six years of his life.

So, a busy day. Another day tomorrow when he's going to be jumping off a wall, abseiling, and all sorts of other things. Live firing with Jamaican Defense Forces. Bring you back tomorrow, Becky.

ANDERSON: He's jumping off a wall? Sorry, what's that all about?

FOSTER: He's jumping off a wall. Yes, I didn't explain that very well. Abseiling, I think you call it.

ANDERSON: Oh, abseiling, OK.

FOSTER: Yes.

ANDERSON: Good. Good. I'm just pleased that you're just reporting on this rather than getting involved, because this is -- jumping off walls, I'd be really nervous wondering whether you'd get home. Max, always a pleasure, my love. Thank you very much, indeed.

Max is with Prince Harry, trailing Prince Harry as he moves around the Bahamas, Belize, and Jamaica on the last step, of course, of his royal tour.

I'm Becky Anderson, and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory," as ever, up after this short break. Don't go away.

END