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U.S. Airlifts Embassy Personnel Out of Yemen; Interview with Bill Clinton; Justice Department Sues Bank Of America; U.S. Authorities File Charges Against Libyan Militia Leader

Aired August 6, 2013 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Leave immediately: as the U.S. and UK flies diplomatic staff out of Yemen. Tonight, why al Qaeda in the region scares the west.

Also ahead, talks not threats, can Iran's new president diffuse tensions over his country's nuclear ambitions.



BILL CLINTON, 42nd PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I like all these bright young people that believe they can make a huge difference.


ANDERSON: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on why he loves visiting Africa.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World.

We begin tonight in Yemen where fear of an imminent al Qaeda attack has put that capital on high alert. Yemeni officials have now confirmed to CNN that a handful of al Qaeda operatives have arrived in Sanaa over the last three days, possibly heading the call of these two men, that is al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri on the right and the head of the group's Yemen affiliate Nasir al-Wahishi on the left.

U.S. officials say they've intercepted a message between the two men where al-Zawahiri calls on al Qaeda fighters in Yemen to do, quote, "something" implying a possible attack.

Well, that has raised the threat level, prompting the U.S. to pull out as many as 90 non-essential employees and the British government to completely shut down its embassy in Sanaa.

Both countries have also called on their citizens inside Yemen immediately and urged others not to travel there.

But U.S. officials say today's' steps are not in reaction to any new information.


JEN PSAKI, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: Obviously, we evaluate on a daily basis, you know, the best ways to keep our citizens safe, our employees safe. And we felt this was a necessary step, but it's not a signal of something new beyond what we announced on Sunday. Obviously there's constant evaluation of new information what is coming in constantly.


ANDERSON: Going to get the latest on how these developments are impacting the situation inside Yemen with CNN's Schams Elwazer who has just returned from Sanaa. But first, let's cross to Elise Labott in Washington for the latest on U.S. citizens leaving the country.

This is an ordered departure, we are told, and not an evacuation. Why Yemen and not the other countries where U.S. missions remain closed at present, Elise, is it clear?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, officials tells us that there was a very specific threat against U.S. interests in Yemen.

Now there are only two facilities where U.S. diplomats work and live. And so there really wasn't anywhere for them to go. They have left the country. They're going to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. They should be arriving there in the coming hours.

But what officials tell me is this was a very specific threat against U.S. facilities in Yemen, whereas there's also a threat against U.S. interests, U.S. facilities in the region. So it's a comparison between a, quote, "extremely high threat" and just a "high threat." So that's why they're taking them out of Yemen and not other countries where those embassies remain closed.

ANDERSON: OK. Well, that is - that's clearing that up out of Washington. Elise, thank you for that.

More on al Qaeda now in the Arabian Peninsula, its capacity and its intentions, let's bring in Raffaello Pantucci who is a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high, says the U.S. State Department. It is clear they believe al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is an effective terrorist franchise. Do you agree? Because not all experts do.

RAFFAELLO PANTUCCI, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: Well, I think that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has repeatedly shown itself to be one of the more effective al Qaeda branch affiliates. I mean, we have groups like this that are sort of connected to al Qaeda core in various places around the world. And this is the one that's demonstrated a capacity repeatedly, and an intent to launch attacks against the west or against western targets.

ANDERSON: OK. Raffaello, stay with me. I've got Schams with me here who is just back from the capital. It seems clear that many experts believe that AQAP, as its acronym is widely known, is effective as a franchise in Sanaa. You're just back. What was the mood there?

SCHAMS ELWAZER, CNN PRODUCER: Well, the mood in downtown Sanaa where you're average Yemeni lives is really just another day, life goes on. It is the last few days ahead of a main religious holiday. However, if you go to the northeastern area of the city, known as the diplomatic area, there you have the U.S. embassy, obviously security is much higher there. Nearby is the UK embassy. And also the German embassy, which is one of the other European embassies that also decided to close as a result of this threat.

ANDERSON: You were in Sanaa in the aftermath of what was a huge attack on the U.S. embassy back in 2008. How does security compare today back there?

ELWAZER: Well, 2008 in that attack 16 people were killed following two suicide bombings. This time coming back the perimeter around the U.S. embassy is just massive. There are four meter high concrete blast walls. There are multiple barricades, checkpoints, and quite a visible security presence. More than anything else, you know, just that one of the main arteries that you used to be able to drive through past the U.S. embassy is now completely blocked off to any kind of traffic.

ANDERSON: So only non-essential U.S. staff remain in the country, as Elise was reporting those other U.S. staff are in-flight, we believe, and on their way to Ramstein at present. Stay with me.

Raffaello, if there is an effective operation, al Qaeda operation in Sanaa, who provides its support in terms of money and training? And we know of this drone program, although the U.S. is loathe to admit to it. How significant is that in this story that we see unfolding at present?

PANTUCCI: Well, I think one of the many signals we can take from the American response to this particular incident is the fact that in the past, I think it's just over a week, we see four drone strikes in Yemen in quite quick succession. These are clearly targeting the group. These are clearly intelligence-led efforts that highlight the, you know, the Americans see this group as a sort of brewing threat and they see these as particularly active at the moment.

So I think we can read into these drone strikes as something saying that this group is particularly dangerous, or this specific moment is something that's of particular concern.

I think in terms of your question about the funding and the training, I mean, this is a group that has managed over time to hold pieces of territory in Yemen and have sort of managed to take over certain villages. It has set up a sort of subsidiary branch where they were doing more social services, so it's able to sort of tap into local communities, resentment and anger, maybe, against the regime.

ANDERSON: The threat of this plot, it seems, was time to go into operation to coincide with the end of Ramadan, which is often been a period of increased terrorist activity.

Let's just remind our viewers that the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, also known as AQAP is headed by this one man Nasir al- Wahishi and was formed in January 2009 after the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda merged. It was behind the failed August 2009 assassination attempt on Saudi prince Mohammed Bin Nayef and Farouk Abdulmuttalib's attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 that approached Detroit Christmas Day 2009.

May 2012, it masterminded the deadliest attack in Yemen history when a suicide bomb attack on soldiers preparing for a parade rehearsal killed over 120 people.

We haven't seen a heightened threat alert in other countries, Raffaello, where U.S. embassies are still closed. Are you surprised by that? And how wide and extent do you think the U.S. has for concern at this point across the region?

PANTUCCI: Well, you know, I think that the initial closures was, I think, of 21 embassies sort of across the Muslim world all the way over into North Africa all the way over to Bangladesh, which is quite a substantial piece of land. So that suggests that the sort of threat reporting was initially much broader, or the sense was that it was much broader. Now it seems to have focused in very much on Yemen.

I think the fact that we also saw the British, the Germans and the French all close their embassies for varying periods of time as a result of this same threat stream, all highlights that I think the threat was very specifically focused on Yemen and a possible attack there. However, clearly initially, there was a concern that it might be a sort of broader threat.

I would also say that as you just mentioned, you know, the group has managed to launch attacks in the past, specifically putting bombs on airplanes. Not only was there Umar Faroud Adbulmuttalib, but we should remember that there was also the bombs that were put in printer cartridges in 2010. And then it was either earlier this year or last year when an individual who had been trained by the group and given a device that would have penetrated airport security, but instead turned it over to authorities was able to get a bomb aboard a plane.

These were incidents where the target was clearly outside Yemen as well.

So I think this is a group that has demonstrated an interest in launching attacks outside as well.

And then I think that your channel has been reporting that apparently there may have been links between the attack in Benghazi and individuals from Yemen as well. So it does have links further afield.

However, it seems that with this particular incident, the threat reporting is much more focused on Yemen.

ANDERSON: And despite that it seems that these other embassies do remain closed at present.

We'll report on that as and when we get more information on when these embassies may, indeed, open against across the region.

All right, to my guests this evening we thank you very much indeed.

Still to come tonight, it's time for straightforward nuclear talks, that is what the new Iranian president says. We'll see how the west is responding. That, coming up.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.

Some news just coming in to CNN. Federal authorities investigating the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi have filed charges under seal against Ahmed Khattala. He's the leader of a Libyan militia that officials believe was involved in the assault. Khattala isn't in the U.S. custody, but CNN's Arwa Damon found him recently. And here is what he told her.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Did anyone from the American or Libyan government get in touch with you?


DAMON: Never?


DAMON: No American official or Libyan official tried to contact you?

KHATTALA: Even the investigative team did not try to contact me.


ANDERSON: Well, let's cross over to CNN's justice reporter Evan Perez.

Tell us about this militia he was leading. Who were they?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're one of the many militias that the Libyan government essentially depends on to help secure areas of the country. And the American government for the past 11 months has believed that they were involved in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic outposts. There was a consulate and a CIA outpost in Benghazi on September 11 of last year.

ANDERSON: All right.

In the White House, the president promised, and I quote, "justice would be served" the day after the attack occurred, of course, on the anniversary of 9/11. Why has it taken this long to find this suspect?

PEREZ: Well, the Americans have been working on this for, as you said, for 11 months. They've been interviewing witnesses.

As you know, Libya is a very difficult place for - especially for the Americans to operate. They don't have the - the FBI tends to depend on the host government to provide security to help them get access to witnesses. That is not something that the Libyan government can really do there.

Ahmed Khattala is believed to be one of the people who was involved in the attack. They filed the charges under seal in court in federal court here in the U.S. And essentially what's going to happen now is they're going to try to work with the Libyans to see if there's any way to try to detain him. That, obviously, is not a very easy matter for the Libyans to do.

ANDERSON: Particularly as they don't even know where he is.

All right. Thank you for that.

Evan Perez out of CNN's justice department.

Well, nearly one year after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, CNN revisits that fateful night. A CNN special investigation, the Truth About Benghazi, airs Wednesday night at 8:00 pm in London, 9:00 in Berlin.

Well, turning to some other news just coming to us from the U.S., the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Bank of America. Lawyers accuse the bank of defrauding investors to the tune of $850 million.

Felicia Taylor is in New York for us. What are the details as we know them on this, Felicia?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is just coming across. And you know obviously, Becky, this is part of an ongoing investigation that the Department of Justice and the SEC is looking into allegations of fraud that was committed against investors. As you said, the complaint is alleging that Bank of America lied to investors about the relative riskiness of these mortgage loans backing the residential mortgage-backed securities. And it also is alleging that it made false statements after intentionally not performing proper due diligence and filing the securitization with a proportionate amount of risky mortgages.

You know, the other thing about this, though, is that also the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, has now filed civil charges in federal court against Bank of America for defrauding investors.

This is, again, as I said, part of an ongoing investigation. There have been other, much larger suits against Bank of America that have actually gone to court. We don't know the results of those yet.

For its part, Bank of America has said that these were prime mortgages sold to sophisticated investors who had ample access to the underlying data. And it continues to say we are not responsible for the housing market collapse that caused mortgage loans to default at unprecedented rates and these securities to lose value as a result.

So the intimation here is that they really are not at fault, because these were sophisticated investors. It wasn't like they were trying to sell these to uneducated investors, people that may not be professionals, like you know perhaps you and I, but rather that these individuals that did buy into this were educated enough to know the difference about what was being - what was involved.

So, obviously there's always two sides to a suit, but again $850 million is quite a hefty charge on behalf of the Department of Justice - Becky.

ANDERSON: Two bits of critical news coming into CNN as we are on air tonight. That from Bank of America and the story out of Benghazi. Both stories we are following for you. More as we get it.

Thank you, Felicia.

The new Iranian president says he is determined to break the deadlock with world powers over his country's nuclear program. Hassan Rouhani says Iran will not abandon its nuclear program, but also says he wants more, and I quote, straightforward talks.


HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are for negotiations and interaction. We are prepared seriously and without wasting any time to enter negotiations, which are serious and content based and substantive with the other sides.


ANDERSON: And later in this show, we're going to have more on President Rouhani's announcement, including reaction from Washington for you.

Well, Syrian state TV says a car bombing has killed 18 people in a suburb of Damascus. It says three children are among the dead. The blast ripped through a crowded square, a mainly Christian and Druze district.

Well, the attack comes as rebels make gains on two strategic fronts elsewhere in Syria. Alongside al Qaeda linked jihadists, they seized a government airbase near Aleppo today. An opposition group says the offensive began with two suicide attacks, one by a Saudi national.

Rebels are also advancing on the heartland of President Bashar al- Assad.

This amateur video is said to show armed fighters in the mountains above Atakia.

Activists say rebels have overrun 11 villages in the past three days.

Well, at least 30 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in a series of bombings in Baghdad's mainly Shiite neighborhoods. Nearly all of the blasts happened just before people went to celebrate Iftar, that is the fast breaking dinner eaten at sunset during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Last month was the deadliest month in Iraq since the peak of sectarian violence in 2006.

Well, a Spanish court says Morocco has 40 days to request extradition for a convicted pedophile who is wanted on rape charges. Daniel Galvan Vina was pardoned by Morocco's king last week, but it was reversed after angry protests. In the time between, Vina fled to Spain. But police caught him on Tuesday and arrested him.

One of Russian President Vladimir Putin's biggest critics has had two months knocked off his prison sentence. Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a former oil tycoon who was convicted of money laundering and embezzlement in 2010, but he was first detained back in 2003. His supporters have always said that the whole thing was engineered by the Kremlin.

Well, earlier, his lawyer told me that the ruling means nothing.


VADIM KLYUVGANT, LAWYER FOR MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY: It's absolutely irrelevant to the real situation, to our position, the defense position, which is completely proved by facts and by law. And our position is the verdict should be (inaudible), deleted at all. And Mikhail Khodorkovsky as well as (inaudible) his partner, should be released immediately.


ANDERSON: All right, live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. 22 minutes past midnight here.

Like father, like daughter, CNN speaks with Bill and Chelsea Clinton about their latest ventures in Africa. That is coming up after this. You're about eight minutes away from your news headlines as ever at the bottom of the hour here on CNN. Do stay with us.


ANDERSON: This is Connect the World. Live from Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea are in Africa this week. They're promoting the work that they have done with the Clinton Foundation, which focuses on economic empowerment and greater health access. Our Nima Elbagir has been speaking with the Clintons and she joins us now live from Kigali. Nima, what did they have to say?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it's starting to look like there's been a veritable pileup of U.S. presidents in Africa in recent months. We had George W. Bush overlapping with President Obama and now of course President Clinton.

But with President Clinton, this is actually a pretty regular occurrence. He travels here quite a bit. And it's something that he says he enjoys every single time. Take a listen to what he said.


NINA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You have spoken about the enduring impact that you said, not intervening at the right time, as you put it, has had on you. How much has that informed your engagement with the continent?

CLINTON: I'll never forget, I went to a little village outside Kigali where the government was giving land to people only if they agreed to live next door to someone of the opposite ethnic group. And I saw these two women holding hands. One woman had lost her husband, her brother, her sister-in-law. And the woman she was holding hands with, her husband was one of the relatively few people in prison awaiting trial under the war crimes tribunal. They had decided to make the future together.

And there's countless stories like this. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be a part of - people who were willing to basically wake up every morning and imagine a future radically different from their past and then live it. That's a precious commodity, and I thought we ought to maximize it.

ELBAGIR: And this is your ninth trip to Africa?

CLINTON: Since I left office.

ELBAGIR: What keeps you coming back?

CLINTON: I like it. I like the people, I like this enduring sense of roots, community, obligation to family, obligation to village, obligation to nation. I like all these bright young people that believe they can make a huge difference. Just give me a little thing, and I will move the world.

There's a role for outright charitable endeavors by corporations, their sort of, you know, social mission, but also it needs to be integrated into the work they do. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to visit the Proctor and Gamble site yesterday, because they've handed over 6 billion packets of these water purifiers. But if you just think about it, if we could have clean water throughout rural Rwanda in this case, but in any poor country, it would lift the health and wellbeing indicators and there would be more consumers for Proctor and Gamble products.

It is possible that seven of the 10 fastest growing economies would be African. It would be altogether fitting if the place where humanity began led us away from economic self-destruction in the 21st Century.


ELBAGIR: It would have been hard to imagine 20 years ago when Clinton signed in the African Growth and Opportunity Act that Africa would really have been coming into its own economically the way it has, Becky, but he says he's going to keep coming as long as there's work to be done here.

ANDERSON: There's no doubt that Africa is in vogue so far as foreign direct investment is concerned, up 5 percent compared to 2011. In 2012, some $50 billion, global, FDI down by some 18 percent over the same period, so it's in vogue. But does Bill Clinton, will he - is he willing to concede that good governance is an issue across much of the continent? And when we see this investment, oftentimes we don't see investment in Africa for African's sake, we often see international companies, Chinese, Indian companies coming in for the continent and investing for themselves. Does he recognize that?

ELBAGIR: Well, I think he is very conscious of the fact that a balance needs to be struck. It's very difficult to continue to tell companies well you need to come in and help people. Not only is it incredibly patronizing for the people themselves, but it's also a very difficult sell to shareholders. But at the same time, he's aware that there is a market here and that companies should also be willing to contribute in order to capitalize of these markets. And that will only buy them goodwill. And I think that's something that's been informed very much by his daughter Chelsea Clinton's background and her kind of financial and investment experience.

And I think perhaps that's why we're seeing more and more of her and more involvement on her part within the foundation's work. This is what she had to say about why she's choosing to work in a greater capacity along her father, Becky.


CHELSEA CLINTON, BILL CLINTON'S DAUGHTER: I really felt like I could make a difference and that I should make a difference. And ultimately, I hear my grandmother's voice in my head every day that life is not about what happens to you, but about what you do with what happens to you. And I had very much led a deliberately private life for a long time. And now I am attempting to lead a perfectly public life.


ELBAGIR: You will of course be unsurprised to hear, Becky, that we did ask her the question everybody asks her: is she going to run? And she said she's not ruling it out for now - Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. Not ruling it out, not ruling it in. Good. Thank you for that. Nima Elbagir for you there.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, U.S. Senator John McCain says the word the Obama Administration has been avoiding when it comes to Egypt's political crisis. The live report for you from Cairo this hour.

The new Iranian president says he wants more serious and straightforward talks on Iran's nuclear program. We ask how the west is choosing to respond.

And the founder of Amazon has stunned the media world by buying the struggling Washington Post newspaper. We're going to look at his motives behind what has shocked many people in the industry. That, after this.


ANDERSON: (inaudible) midnight in Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories this hour. The U.S. is urging its citizens who are still in Yemen to leave immediately, citing terrorist activities and civil unrest. The military plane airlifted non-essential embassy staff to Germany. Meanwhile, Britain has shut down its embassies in Yemen, fears of an imminent attack on Western facilities being driven by intercepted communications between two top al Qaeda leaders.

Iran's new president says his country is ready for serious talks over its nuclear program, but has no intention of giving it up. Hassan Rouhani spoke in his first news conference since taking office on Sunday. He said negotiations must take place without the threat of economic sanctions.

Federal authorities investigating the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi filed charges under seal against Ahmed Khattalab. He is the leader of a Libyan militia that officials believed was involved in the assault. That is according to people briefed on the investigation. The charges are the first criminal counts to emerge from the probe.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed the lawsuit against Bank of America. Lawyers accused the bank of defrauding homebuyers of mortgage- backed securities by lying about the qualities of the home loans involved.

Home securities played a key role in the 2008 financial crisis.

His own government avoids the term, but today U.S. Senator John McCain labeled the overthrow of Egypt's democratically elected leader a coup. He and a fellow Republican senator encouraged a push for a peaceful end to the crisis. Reza Sayah is in Cairo. He was sent to Egypt by the president, he's Obama's man in Egypt. So can we surmise that this message is one from Obama? Or is this a Republican senator gone rogue on Washington?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think this is a message coming from the U.S. Congress as well as the Obama administration. Oftentimes these hives (ph) of diplomacy efforts happen behind closed doors, Becky. So it's hard to figure out if anything was accomplished. We can tell you the conflict is not over, so we know they didn't come here and fix things in 24 hours. They did come with some very clear messages, some of those messages controversial. For one they restated their position that they believe what happened last month, the overthrow of Mr. Morsy, was a coup. Many who support the military-backed interim government are not going to like that. But the senator said they don't want to dwell on the past, they want to move to the future. We had a chance to talk to them. Here's some of what they had to say.


SAYAH: Your message today was clear. This was a coup, but you also added that you want to see a transition to democracy. How concerned are you that the most adored figure these days in Egypt is General Sisi, with his picture everywhere?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA: Well, we appreciate his leadership, and we appreciate many aspects of what he's done. But we made it very clear to General Sisi that we are here not to negotiate, but to urge a reconciliation, a dialogue, followed by free and fair elections. Now, General Sisi said to us that he was committed to that process. And so we are, I think guardedly optimistic that he wants the same thing, but guardedly only.

SAYAH: Senator Graham, one of your suggestions was that political prisoners should be released. Is Mohamed Morsy, the former president, among those people you'd like to see released?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: My belief is that the American people through their Congress and this administration is not going to support an Egypt that doesn't transition to democracy. I believe Morsy was freely and fairly elected, and the way they govern created great upheaval in this country. For the Muslim Brotherhood not to understand that the criticism coming their way is - is based on what they did, is a huge mistake.

MCCAIN: The most effective way of negotiating, reconciliation is the judgment that should be made by the negotiators, whether it'd be Morsy or Al-Sadr (ph) or others. That's - that's -- I can't designate that, but it has to be people who are respected by the Muslim Brotherhood. We can't designate who should do the negotiating.

SAYAH: One final question. The Muslim Brotherhood, they seem isolated. They are the ones being jailed, they are the ones being wanted by prosecutors. The death toll is higher on their side. Does that put the onus on this military-backed interim government? Are you looking for them to make the first concession?

GRAHAM: There has to be some input from the Muslim Brotherhood, of course, they are part of Egypt. And it's just impossible and not right to negotiate when somebody is in prison. So, two things have to happen, I think, at the same time. The Muslim Brotherhood has to not only renounce violence, but refrain from it. Using violence as a negotiating tool is unacceptable in democracy, and they have to stop that.

MCCAIN: It's not that either side has to take the initiative. But I would emphasize that time is not on the side of delay. There are very serious problems in the streets, and we didn't come here to negotiate, we only came to urge as friends a process of a national dialogue and the new election.


SAYAH: So, the message from the two U.S. senators is clear: they want the two sides to stop fighting, to end the violence, to sit down and ham around some sort of political resolution, where all political factions are involved including the Muslim Brotherhood, Becky, but the big question is: are these two sides getting the message? Did they listen to the message? We just don't know that at this point. Becky.

ANDERSON: Reza Sayah on the story out of Cairo. Reza, thank you.

In his first press conference since taking office, the new Iranian president has promised more straightforward talks on his country's nuclear programs. What's the reaction in Washington to that news? Jill Dougherty joining me now live from that. Jill, how is Washington treating this announcement?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Becky, I think you're hearing from both sides on the kind of the same thing: we want to talk, maybe if our conditions are met, et cetera. But let's begin with the new president of Iran, Mr. Rouhani. He is saying yes, I'm willing to negotiate. However, there can be no threats. Let's listen to what he says.


HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): When need to have negotiations without threats, that's the key. If the other party when it comes to practice, they realized the fact that the solution is solely and merely talks and the threats will not solve any problem apart from aggravating this situation.

And if anyone thinks that through threats they can impose their wills and whims on the Iranian nation, they are - they are making a very big mistake.


DOUGHERTY: OK. A very big mistake. Now, here in Washington, State Department briefing and from other places, from the White House, in fact, the message is, we are ready to talk, the United States is ready to talk. However, Iran has to take the steps that they - that the United States argues they are required to take by the international community, and they also say that this opportunity, having a president who is considered a moderate by Iranian standards, that this is an opportunity to resolve this. But again, they have their own demands, and those are some type of credible steps by Iran. So, here we are, with both sides in a way of kind of good news, Becky, you're saying, we're ready to talk, but then real knob is to sit down and get something concrete, and as one international official - diplomat was telling us today, that diplomat said, there aren't going to be any free passes in this one. So, we will see how far this goes, but they have been looking at talks, perhaps, in September before the United Nations General Assembly and perhaps that can happen.

ANDERSON: Yeah. No direct talks between the U.S. and Iran, of course, for years. So, we have to watch this one. Thank you, Jill. This is announcement from President Rouhani suggests he's trying to establish better relations with the west in general. Let's (inaudible) to Reza Marashi, who is the research director of the National Iranian American Council, who believes that not only Iran should adapt a less hard-line approach, but also the United States. And what signals do Iran and Washington need to send each other to improve relations at this point, do you think?

REZA MARASHI, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, NATIONAL IRANIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL: I think right now we are seeing the most important first step that can be taken, which is a change in tone. A change in style. When you change your language, your tone, your style, then that facilitates the change in substance, which is arguably the hardest thing to do. What you're hearing now is that both sides have an understanding that that change in substance is going to need to take place. And I think an important first step for Washington to take, what we need to - maybe offer a little bit more at the negotiating table and see how the Iranians respond. And then in turn the Iranians can respond by actually engaging in the negotiating process by making a counteroffer. That's the way the game is played.

ANDERSON: This is - yeah, I'm looking at conference of agreement going forward if it were possible, which would be you sort out your nuclear program, so it doesn't - or isn't deemed to be a threat to the West, and we possibly will sort out these oil and financial sanctions, which are crippling the Iranian economy. Let me ask you this, where do you think the U.S. and Europe stand on any comprehensive agreement going for - my sense is, that there are different views between what we would consider the West and Iran at this point. So the parties within what we would consider the West don't necessarily agree with the best step forward, do they at this point?

MARASHI: That's an important question back here I think you have to nail on the head. Even though the United States and the European Union have been working very closely and very effectively together to address what their concerns are, vis-a-vis Iran, there is disagreement between one another on what's the best for pathway for where it should be. And this complicates the negotiating process with Iran, because if the West as a whole cannot present to the Iranians what their perceived endgame is. So when the negotiations are done, what kind of relationship does the West want to have with Iran? It makes it much more difficult for the negotiating process to move forward, and it makes it much more difficult for a very reactive regime in Iran to respond accordingly. So, getting a better idea of what the endgame is, what the endgame that Washington and Europe wants ...


ANDERSON: I thought it was interesting to see who Rouhani has installed around him in order to give the face of this sort of, you know, appealing more moderate Iran going forward to those outside of the country? What's your sense of who he is as a man, as a man to do business with so far as the international community is concerned. Not that he is compared with Ahmadinejad, do you think?

MARASHI: I think it's night and day. You know, he has brought back in seasoned technocrats that have a proven track record in wanting to improve Iran's relationship with the West more generally and with the United States more specifically. And this is on foreign policy issues. And I think that's one of the most important signals that the Rouhani government has sent thus far. That being said, there is also some very serious domestic political considerations that the Iranian government is going to need to address. Its human rights record is appalling. People lack very basic social freedoms, and we're going to need to make sure that we hold the Iranian government accountable on these kinds of issues as well, as we worked to solve the international conflict peacefully through diplomacy.

ANDERSON: Fascinating, Reza, thank you.

Live from London, you're watching - no, it's not live from London. In fact, I don't know where I'm, but I've just worked it out. It's close to 1:00 in the morning, and I am in Abu Dhabi. So, tonight, it's live from Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. It is warm, delicious and apparently, it's good for business, but the CEO of Campbell Soups says she's branching out into a new market. That is next in what is a regular Leading Women Series of this time of the week. (inaudible) taking a very short break.


ANDERSON: Well, this name is associated with soup in many parts of the world, but Campbell's planned the launch of more than 200 new products in the coming months. At (inaudible) this week's "Leading Women", who spoke with Felicia Taylor in Campbell, New Jersey where Campbell was founded back in 1869.


DENISE MORRISON, CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY CEO: Hi, it's Denise. How are you doing?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As president and CEO of the economic Campbell soup company, Denise Morrison recognizes the brand's rich history.

MORRISON: These are wonderful, wonderful tasting products.

TAYLOR: But has her eye on the future.

MORRISON: As we focus forward, and we look at the next generation of consumers, Gen Y, there's 80 million of them, and what they want is they want delicious, they want tasty, they want affordable, and they want easy.

TAYLOR: Morrison took the hold of the 144 year old Campbell in 2011.

(on camera): So, I'm sure you don't have anything as such as a typical day.

MORRISON: There is no typical day in the life of a CEO.

TAYLOR (voice over): Once in the top job, Morrison orchestrated the largest acquisition in the company's history, at more than $1.5 billion.

(on camera): And why was Bolthouse a reasonable acquisition?

MORRISON: Bolthouse Farms brings to Campbell's a fresh beverage, and it also opened up a whole arena in what we call package fresh.

TAYLOR (voice over): Still, soup is the company's iconic product. Marketed over the years as a hearty meal for American family.

(on camera): When it comes to the international market, has it been difficult to translate that?

MORRISON: In some markets, we've adapted Campbell's recipes to the marketplace and what the consumer wants to eat. In some countries, we didn't introduce Campbell's. We either acquired a brand or - or partnered with somebody's.

TAYLOR (voice over): The company's boasts hundreds of brands, and has a plan to launch more than 200 new products over the next year.

(on camera): Did you always believe that you get to the CEO chair?

MORRISON: I set a goal at the very young age. I didn't know it was called CEO, but I knew I wanted to lead a company. And I believed it was inspired by my home life. My father was having a lot of fun, and I said, somehow I want to do that.

TAYLOR: How do you feel that life is changing in the corporate American market?

MORRISON: I think we've made tremendous progress on women's advancement at the entry levels, and in the middle management level. But by the time you get to the top, it's where are the women? You know, there's 21 CEOs in the Fortune 500 ...

TAYLOR: That's (inaudible).

MORRISON: And one of them is my sister. You know, so we've got more work to do in the senior executive ranks, and we've got more work to do in the boardrooms.


ANDERSON: And you can learn more about what Denise Morrison and what the other female CEO think about what needs to be done by logging onto a special section of the Web site women. We'll take a break - short break for you.

Coming up after this we'll ask what's behind the shock decision by Amazon CEO to buy the struggling Washington Post. Right after this.


ANDERSON: It broke the Watergate scandal and it's seen as one of the most famous newspapers in the world. Now, "The Washington Post" is being bought by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon in a deal that stunned the media world that around this time last night it was announced that the Internet entrepreneur is buying the paper for $250 million. Now, papers struggle in the digital era, and it's seen seven years of falling revenues. So in a letter posted on "The Washington Post" website, the Amazon CEO wrote to its employees saying like "The internet is transforming almost every element of the news business. There is no map and charting a path ahead will not be easy." Added "We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers." This, of course, the man who started up Amazon alongside eBay. The two massive companies that really promoted the Internet to the average consumer creating and resell environment at the lives of which we now - we'll take advantage of what the sale of ""The Washington Post" comes on hills of other recent sales as newspapers grapple with the change to digital, the billionaire owner of Boston Red Sox, a Liverpool football club bought the "Boston Globe" newspaper for $17 million this August, and in May of this year, "Newsweek" - a "Newsweek" was sold to RVT media, seven months after killing of its print publication, but speculation is rife as to why Amazon's boss wants to buy a paper in such dire strays. Jeff is buying "The Washington Post" in a personal capacity. It's going to be said none of the CEO of Amazon's.

So, what's in it for him? Well, joining me now is Brad Stone, senior writer of "Bloomberg Businessweek." He's just written a book on Jeff Bezos and the history of Amazon due out in October.

Brad is joining us now. Does Jeff Bezos know something that we don't?

BRAD STONE, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK: Well, I think he is more optimistic than the rest of us, particularly about the prospects of local newspapers. But look, I mean I think a couple of things are behind there. You know, he believes that his Amazon-style operating philosophy, with the focus on long term results and experimentation can help the managers of "The Post" to build a new business, a growing business online. And I think the second factor that we really can't ignore is that Amazon is a growing company, it's going to have lots of regulatory and legislative issues in Washington, and by buying "The Post", Bezos is buying himself a powerful seat at the table.

ANDERSON: He's buying political input (ph), is that what you are saying? When you - you've written a book about this guy. You know him well.

STONE: I don't know if I would, you know, so directly say he's buying political influence, but, you know, we are - Mark Twain saying, never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. There must be a sort of digital equivalent to that saying. And by buying "The Post", you know, certainly there is enormous influence. You get immersed in Washington politics. You meet legislators and regulators constantly. And look, I mean, you know, Jeff Bezos is envisioning Amazon not as the $60 billion a year company it was last year, but as a $200 or $300 billion a year company. So, so sure I think, you know, the political clout is very important when you wonder why any wealthy person buys the newspaper.

ANDERSON: Brad, let's just remind our viewers once again. He's not buying in the capacity of Amazon - of Amazon as the CEO. He's buying in a private capacity. This is not his only venture outside of the Amazon that we know him for. His ventures go well beyond that. And, indeed, "The Washington Post", of course, impact some around this world. In 2005, he founded Blue Origin. Its goal is to make, I believe, a space travel cheap enough for the likes of you and me. Bezos also funding a mission to find the rocket engines from the Apollo mission. They were recovered from the depth of the Atlantic earlier this year. And another project, is its 10,000 year clock, an enormous timepiece on a mountain base that would take once a year - he wants it to encourage long term thinking. So, I guess, some of this might suggest to some of our viewers, he's just a bit kind of out there. A bit wacky.


ANDERSON: But "The Washington Post" employees won't want to think of their new boss like that, will they?

STONE: Right. Now, he's clearly one of the more idiosyncratic, you know, wealthy investors out there, and I think the common denominator is he invests in his passions. And, you know, space travel, since he was young, was always a hobby, and the clock kind of represents his sort of long term thinking. And, you now, with "The Post," you know, you could fit into that framework. He's always been a voracious reader. A lot of his big decisions at Amazon come from getting inspired by books that he's read. And he says he is a huge reader of newspapers. And he's also, I think, an admirer of Warren Buffett, who has been buying newspapers, you know, quite a few over the past few years and seeing a lot of financial opportunity there.

ANDERSON: Your book was spot on, due out in October. I'm sure most of the employees of "The Washington Post" will be buying it, if not those who are absolutely fascinated by this story. I mean, it's unbelievable how cheap newspapers are when you consider, for example, "The New York Times" bought the "Boston Globe" for over $1 billion in 1993, I think it was, and just sold it on for $70 million to the Red Sox owner at the moment. So, they are going for a sum, what you do with them next is the big question, of course. Brad, pleasure, thank you. What do you think about Amazon's new purchase and the team of CONNECT THE WORLD will like to hear from you. What's going to be Bezos (inaudible), is not Amazon's new purchase, of course, it's Bezos' new purchase. But what do you think he's going to do with it? Where do you think media goes? Your thoughts (inaudible).

Well, out of Abu Dhabi this evening, just before midnight, thank you for watching. "The World News Headlines" continue after this short break.