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Staying Fit At Work; U.S. Announces Language On Bilateral Security Agreement With Iran; Israel's Push For All Or Nothing On Iran's Nuclear program; Polish Finance Minister Out

Aired November 20, 2013 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight, is a deal finally in sight? As a crucial round of talks begin over Iran's nuclear program, France's former ambassador to Iran tells us why it's time for sanctions to be relaxed.

Also this hour, blade runner Oscar Pistorius is served with two more gun charges. We'll have all the details.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) taken lift. Why don't we take the stairs? Come on.


FOSTER: No time to exercise? We'll show you how to get fit at work.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.

FOSTER: Up first, though, we begin with some breaking news coming to CNN. And U.S. Secretary of State Kerry has just announced that the U.S. has reached a final agreement on language of bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm pleased to say that in a series of conversations with President Karzai in the course of this morning, even interrupting some of our conversations, that we reached an agreement as to the final language of the bilateral security agreement that will be placed before the loya jirga tomorrow.

I will have more on this as we get it from our world affairs correspondent Elise Labott. She's in Washington, D.C. watching it for us.

Meanwhile, a historic shot at peace or another missed opportunity? That's the question on many people's minds this Wednesday as the latest round of international talks on Iran's nuclear program got underway in the Swiss city of Geneva.

The general outline of an interim deal is on the table, but diplomats still have to reach agreement on a number of outstanding issues.

We're covering this story from all angles for you. In a moment, we'll hear from Reza Sayah in Tehran and Ian Lee Jerusalem. But first let's cross over the Matthew Chance. He's in Geneva for the latest on the talks.

So Matthew, first round of talks this evening wrapped up quickly. What are the negotiators doing now?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they were just seven minutes long, the first plenary session, the first full session of face-to-face meetings with the five permanent members of the security council plus Germany and Iran, which is obviously a remarkably short period of time. But what U.S. officials are telling us is that we shouldn't read into too much to that. It was merely a sort of planning session to map out what the negotiators are going to do over the next 24, 48 hours or so.

There are going to be bilateral meetings into the night this evening with the Russians and the Iranians, the Europeans and the Iranians and then U.S.officials and the Iranians as well in face-to-face meetings to see whether they can, you know, come to some kind of better compromise than they've already come to. They've got already very close to a deal 10 days ago when they were last here in Geneva sort of hammering out their differences, trying to reach an agreement.

The expectation now is that they can get even closer. But of course in the past they've been close and failed. And no one is, you know, ruling out the possibility that they could fail this time as well, although at the moment negotiators are all speaking very positively about the potential for a deal here.

FOSTER: What do you know about the actual deal, the most likely deal to come out of this, the deal that's on the table right now?

CHANCE: Well, publicly none of the negotiators have been talking about the terms of it, but that the broad sense of what it's going to look like has been pretty clear. It's going to involve to some extent are capping by Iran of its uranium enrichment activities to a sort of lower sort of percentage so that it won't be used for weapons material, only for fuel material.

It's also going to involve the Iranians granting a much more intrusive regime of inspections by international inspectors from the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In return for that, what the Iranians are going to want is some alleviation of the crippling sanctions that have been imposed on them by the United States, by the European Union, by the UN as well, they're going to want some relief from that. What U.S. officials are saying is that the relief being sort of contemplated at the moment would only be very small. This would only be an interim agreement, enough to buy some negotiating time if it's agreed at all, of course, that would, you know, then be the opportunity for a full on, you know, long-term agreement in which these sanctions would all ultimately be lifted.

But at the moment they're just discussing a six month deal that would buy some negotiating time, Max.

FOSTER: Let's cross to Ian Lee in Jerusalem, because a lot of concern there, of course, Ian, because we're hearing just last week how the government there doesn't want any sort of deal at all. So will they be nervous about even a very sketchy deal coming out of this?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just wrapped up a meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. And in a statement they just released, the prime minister said that Iran is the largest threat to Israel's security. And he also went further and said a nuclear Iran is a threat to international security.

And what the Israelis would like to see, there's four things that they say they would like to see before sanctions were even talked about being lifted. And those four things is: stopping the enrichment of uranium, also any uranium that has been enriched to take it out of the country, to dismantle the centrifuges in Iran as well as stopping the construction of the heavy water plant in Arak.

Prime Minister Ben Netanyahu said that they want a diplomatic solution. They haven't ruled out in the past other options, but they said they want this to be a peaceful solution.

But kind of most interesting in this statement was his reference to Syria. He said the international community came together to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons. He says they can do it now in Iran.

But definitely Israel is very nervous right now about the talks taking place in Geneva. They believe that Iran is going to win this round of talks. And they say that if any sort of initial deal is reached that it would just lead to Iran having a nuclear weapon.

FOSTER: We've just in the last few minutes been hearing from the secretary of state in the U.S. saying that the United States would not allow any deal with Iran to become a ploy to buy time to increase its nuclear capability. That may be designed as a message to appease Israeli concerns. Will it be enough?

LEE: Probably not. Israel has been very strong on their stance that they don't believe any lessening of sanctions to buy any concessions is something that they'll go along with. They -- Prime Minister Netanyahu has said on multiple times that if you just lower the sanctions a little, relieve the sanctions a little, it will unravel all the sanctions and that Iran will obtain a nuclear weapons.

And one of the examples they like to point to is North Korea. In North Korea there was this sanctions being relieved for a little cooperation. Eventually North Korea obtained the nuclear bomb and Israel likes to use that analogy to compare it to Iran right now and they believe that any sort of negotiation, any sort of perceived weakness, will lead to Iran having the bomb, Max.

FOSTER: Ian is Jerusalem. And Matthew as well in Geneva, thanks for joining us.

We couldn't get hold of Reza, but we will be speaking to him a bit later on CNN.

Later in the program, I'll ask France's former ambassador if the time has come to ease some of those sanctions on Iran. He's got some views on that. That's coming up in 20 minutes time.

Let's go back to another story we broke here on CNN. A couple of minutes ago, the U.S. and Afghanistan have agreed on language of a security agreement. World Affairs reporter Elise Labott joins us now from the State Department in Washington with the latest.

For people who haven't been following the ins and outs of this, it won't be entirely clear what this means. But it is pretty significant, right?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's very significant, Max. The U.S. really wanted to sow up this agreement before Afghan election campaign starts. The election will be taking place in April. And they really wanted to sign this agreement that will basically leave certain amount of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after international troops leave in 2014 for the mission of training, assisting, equipping and advising them. We're talking about maybe somewhere between, 5,000 to 10,000 U.S. troops by most estimates, maybe a couple of thousands NATO troops would remain as well. And there have been several sticking points over these negotiations which have taken place over the last many months, particularly over whether the U.S. would be able to conduct raids in Afghan homes. That's been a real sore point for the Afghans. And it seems that with this letter of assurances that we've been talking about that the U.S. would provide to Afghanistan, they would be able to do that under certain circumstances.

FOSTER: I'm also reading that he was asked questions about an apology, Kerry, to Afghanistan. What would the apology before if he was going to be giving it?

LABOTT: Well, this goes back to this letter. President Karzai, this is one issue that's been really hard for him and his political base, these Afghan raids, because there have been a lot of civilian casualties during them. And so what he was looking for was some kind of letter of assurances that would not only spell out under what conditions U.S. troops might be able to take these raids, but apologize for some of the past, quote, unquote mistakes that the U.S. has taken in the past.

And so there was all this talk about whether this is an apology for U.S. actions in Afghanistan during the war. And Secretary Kerry, National Security Adviser Rice in an interview with Wolf Blitzer yesterday have said no, this is not an apology, per se, but this is an acknowledgment of past mistakes, of regret of civilian deaths and a pledge to make sure that the U.S. will do everything it can to avoid it.

But it's really semantics here. The Afghans get an expression of regret from the U.S. for past debts, and the U.S. gets to continue the raids, so everybody wins here with this letter.


Elise, thank you very much -- just pouring over the language and explaining it to us.

Still to come tonight, two more charges will face the Blade Runner when he returns to court. We'll tell you what they are.

And one down, 29 to go. The first Greenpeace activist is released on bail in Russia.

Plus, young, free and out of shape: why the youth of today can't keep up with their parents.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

Now the prosecutor's office in Paris says police are now holding a man in custody in connection with Monday's shooting of a photographer of the Liberation newspaper's Paris offices. The arrest was disclosed a short time ago. Authorities haven't yet identified the man. They say he was arrested in an underground parking lot in a suburb northwest of Paris.

CNN affiliate BFM TV says French officials are trying to determined if he's also connected to a shooting outside the Societe Generale bank and a carjacking in Paris.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was served with two new gun charges on Wednesday relating to firing guns in public. The double amputee is already facing murder charges for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February allegedly.

CNN's Robyn Curnow has the latest.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Oscar Pistorius' received an updated indictment Wednesday says the national prosecuting authority. All-in-all Pistorius now faces four charges; one of murder and three of contravening the firearms act.

Now this new indictment includes two extra charges relating to allegations that Pistorius discharged a pistol in a restaurant and out of the sunroof of his car.

Meanwhile, a legal analyst has told CNN that these charges will be used by the state to try and paint a picture of Pistorius as being a gun happy, of being trigging happy. Meanwhile, Pistorius has consistently denied that he murdered his girlfriend. Instead, he said it was just a tragic accident, a terrible mistake, that he mistook Reeva Steenkamp in the middle of the night for an intruder.

The trial begins in March.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Johannesburg, South Africa.


FOSTER: Emergency workers have called off the search for survivors at the site of a building collapse near Durbin, South Africa. The accident at a partially constructed mall killed at least one person and injured 13 more on Tuesday. It's not know what caused the collapse.

Relations between Indonesia and Australia have gone from cold to icy. Indonesia's president has announced he's freezing military and intelligence cooperation with Australia. He's furious over reports that Australia tried to tap his and his wife's mobile phones back in 2009.

Australia's prime minister and Indonesia's foreign minister expressed very different views of the controversy.


TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: As I said yesterday, I deeply and sincerely regret the embarrassment that media reports have caused to President Yudhoyono.

MARTY NATALEGAWA, INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I believe the embarrassment should belong to the government of Australia.


FOSTER: A wave of bombings struck Baghdad on Wednesday. Police say at least 60 people were killed and dozens were injured in blasts which occurred mainly in Shiite areas.

Sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites has risen in recent months. The UN says nearly 1,000 people were killed in Iraq just in September.

Greenpeace says Anna Paula Marciel (ph), one of the group's activists detained in Russia, has been released on bail. 17 of 30 people jailed over a protest against Arctic sea drilling two months ago have now been granted bail, but only one has been released so far.

A major reshuffling in the Polish government today. Prime Minister Donald Tusk is replacing key people in his cabinet, including the finance minister. It comes amid declining ratings for his party and a sluggish economy.

Let's cross to Paula Newton who is live for us in Warsaw. Hi, Paula.


Yeah, Jan Rostowski is out. And this is the technocrat, really the fact of Poland's finances at least for the last five or six years. And what a battle he had. I mean, going through the entire financial crisis in Europe and being the only European country not to go through a recession.

It may seem like a bit of a miracle, but not enough for him to keep his job going in the next few years. The reason, as you said, Max, the sluggish economy.

I want you to hear now about exactly what kind of condition this economy is in.


RYSZARD PETRU, POLICE ECONOMISTS ASSOCIATION: It will not be as easy as it was. On the one hand, you can say, OK, Poland managed to get out of the communism with a strong growth performance, but it was last 25 years almost. Now, the question is, how the country, which is at this stage of development, can continue such a strong growth dynamics. It's not easy.


NEWTON: Now, Mateusz Szczurek is the man, the 38-year-old bank executive who now has to take that on. And, Max, in terms of growing there have been great growth rates in this country in the last few years going forward, the last quarter especially was quite disappointing. This was a lot about Poland after so many decades lost regaining its economic footing in Europe and Donald Tusk put everyone, prime minister of this country, put everyone on notice here in Europe and said that this country still needs help to get on its feet in the coming years and to reclaim that rightful stake as an important economic member here in Central Europe.

FOSTER: Thank you, Paula. We'll be back with you a bit later in the show from Warsaw.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 people on Wednesday, including talk show host Oprah Winfrey and the late astronaut Sally Ride.

Former President Bill Clinton was also a recipient of the nation's highest civilian honor. He was celebrated for his public service in the White House and for his work with the Clinton Foundation.

President Obama used the medal presentation and a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the late President John F. Kennedy who established the award 50-years-ago.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yeah, I hope we carry away from this a reminder of what JFK understood to be the essence of the American spirit, that it's represented here and some of us may be less talented, but we all have the opportunity to serve and to open people's hearts and minds.


FOSTER: Pakistani teen who has inspired the world with her bravery was honored earlier today. Malala Yousafzai formally received the 2013 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought. It's presented by the European Parliament in Strasburg, France. She received a standing ovation.

The 16-year-old was shot in the head by the Taliban last year for insisting that she and other girls and women have the right to an education.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, a decline in global fitness. Why the World Health Organization is turning out a warning to children.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day. Every day. Without a doubt. Wake up at about 5:00 in the morning, and yeah, fortunate enough to live by the beach. My exercise regime -- well, seven days a week I like to do a bit of Crossfit. I'd have to say to this day they've -- I would say I've been a lot fitter than my parents, what they were back then.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I go to the gym twice a week at least. I attend like fit classes just tone up the areas I want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing (inaudible) probably not...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't have to go to the army. And they went to the army. And I mean, that was some tough stuff, that was some tough stuff. I mean, that's a lot of running and stuff. So I don't -- they're probably, they're probably more fit than we are.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: I mean, it would probably depend, because my dad when he was younger he was a lot fitter and lot faster than me, but strength wise I'd probably beat him, yeah.


FOSTER: Now, fitness and a good run around may not be all that it used to be. A new study suggests that children are less fit than their parents were a generation ago.

The data in the report spans nearly half a century and looks at millions of children in dozens of countries. It finds that on average youngsters take 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their parents did 30 years ago. Also, 80 percent of children may not be getting enough regular exercise.

And on top of that, researchers recommend that children over six should be getting an hour of moderately vigorous activity every day.

But one educator told us that kids are actually getting healthier.


LORRAINE REICH, PRINCIPAL, WARREN T. JACKSON ELEMENTARY: I don't think that the trend toward obesity and less physical fitness is changing. And I do think that is primarily because of the educational efforts, the publicity. People are talking about it, people are much more cognizant of the fact that children aren't getting the exercise they need. You see it in the adults, you're going to see it in children too. So we're trying to do our part here at school.


FOSTER: Now to some of us, an hour may seem like a lot of time to spend on exercise every day. I spoke with Dr. Martin Makary to get his professional opinion.


DR. MARTY MAKARY, JOHNS HOPKINS: The hour designation is a very arbitrary designation. Really, that's pulled out of thin air. The recommendation used to be every -- three times a week you should exercise 15 to 20 minutes. And it's changed.

But you know, the important thing is that you stress the body in some moderate way so that your heart is getting exercise. And if that's a small modification to your life or if it's a major rigorous workout every day, that's what's the important thing here.

FOSTER: And is this more relevant to children or adults? Should we be looking at those difference grouping or is it as relevant for everyone?

MAKARY: It's probably going on throughout society. And we're most concerned about the trend among children for a few reasons. One, diseases in childhood that were previously rare and undescribed are now common. And number two, these problems from obesity are offset with a 10 to 15 year future series of complications that our system hasn't yet realized.

So the future diabetes, the heart disease, the joint replacement, the kidney failure that comes along with obesity, it doesn't happen right away, it happens decades down the road. And that's what threatens to burden the already busy hospitals around the world.


FOSTER: Right, with all this fitness talk I decided to find out how I could incorporate a bit more activity into my daily life. Trainer Shimon O'Connor (ph) gave me some tips.


FOSTER: OK, Shimon (ph), we go to lunch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, Max, instead of taking the lift why don't we take the stairs? Come on.

FOSTER: This is going to be the (inaudible)

It's not a huge amount of stairs. I'm not going to gain much am I?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, Max, you are. It's the small bits that count. Every little bit (inaudible) heart rate, even by taking the stairs will add up throughout the day.

FOSTER: I'm interested in the arm movement. Is that a sort of gym instructor form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually Max if you move your arms you can burn up to 20 percent more calories.

FOSTER: Oh, so there's a -- that's quite a lot.

UNIDNETIFIED FEMALE: Quite a lot for such a small movement.

FOSTER: So this is how you walk?

I'm going to go and grab my sandwich now. And then we're going to go for lunch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Actually, you know what, Max. We've got a few minutes. Why don't we kill some time and go for a walk around the block and get that old heart rate up? Come on. Let's go. Let's go.

FOSTER: OK, I said I'd do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, Max, let's go and get that sandwich.

FOSTER: Lunchtime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) Actually rather than sitting down, I'm sure you've got 101 tasks to do. You've got phone calls to make?

FOSTER: I've got phone calls. I've got emails -- yes.

I've got to speak to Ryan. So rather than emailing him, I guess I could go.



You're exhausting me.

OK, Shimon (ph), it's the end of the day. I've done pretty well. I've been moving my arms, I have a bit of longer walk to lunch. I can go home now, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, Max, not quite. I know you were at the tube station.

FOSTER: So close.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So close, but so far. But how about another one? So why don't we get a little bit more exercise in the day and take a brisk walk.

FOSTER: How much difference would that make? How much difference would the little things that I've done today make?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They all add up. The more you can do the healthier you're going to feel.

FOSTER: I would be a lot fitter if I did that every day?


FOSTER: And the next level.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next level, trying running into the office or cycling into the office, or you look like you work out. Join the gym.

FOSTER: Join your class.


FOSTER: I'm not quite ready for that. Let's do Piccadilly, first.


FOSTER: There you are, being fit and tired.

The latest world news headlines just ahead. Plus, a dire economic outlook for Iran. We discussed the effect of Iranian sanctions on the economy and the youth employment.

And a job that requires excellent maneuvering skills, a tugboat captain takes us through the choreography of moving big ships.

Plus, the incredible history that lies beneath your feet On the Road reports from Poland.


FOSTER: This is Connect the World. The top stories this hour.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has just announced the U.S. has reached a final agreement on language of a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan. The deal would determine the nature and extent of U.S. involvement in the country after the majority of troops pull out.

Diplomats say the first negotiating session on Iran's disputed nuclear program in Geneva, Switzerland ended in little more than -- a little more than 10 minutes -- ended in a little more than 10 minute. The senior U.S. officials say it was only a brief meeting to discuss how the negotiations will proceed.

The prosecutors' office in Paris says police are now holding a man in custody in connection with Monday's shooting of a photographer at the "Liberation" newspaper's Paris offices. Authorities have not yet identified the man but have confirmed to CNN that DNA comparison tests are ongoing.

Greenpeace says one of the group's activists detained in Russia has been released on bail, 17 of 30 people jailed over a protest against Arctic Sea drilling two months ago have now been granted bail, but only one has been released so far.

US markets dipped earlier after the Fed announced it could cut back on its bond-buying stimulus program. They've been hovering around the key milestone of 16,000 all week but have yet to close above it. Alison Kosik is standing by at the New York Stock Exchange watching all that teetering. Alison?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, after those Fed minutes came out, it looks like the Dow is moving farther away from that milestone of 16,000. In fact, the sharp U-turn after those minutes came out, the Dow now down 83 points. That's after being in the green all day.

And as you mentioned, those losses are related to the minutes from the Fed's latest meeting. Very interesting point in those minutes: the central bank officials saying they may start winding down stimulus for reasons other than an improving job market. And if that happens, it will be a dramatic change and stance from the Fed's stated policy.

Because what's been happening for more than a year now, the Fed has been buying billions of dollars in bonds each month, stimulating the economy, waiting until it sees substantial improvement in the jobs market. Now, they're not at a point where they're actually changing that policy.

They're just talking about other possible scenarios that may prompt them to taper back, but the idea that it could happen sooner than expected, that is clearly making investors jittery. Max?

FOSTER: OK, Alison, thank you very much, indeed. Returning back to our top story. For the past couple of years, Western sanctions against Iran are having a devastating effect on the economy. Oil exports have dropped dramatically. Revenues averaged an estimated $3.4 billion per month in the first half of this year, down from $6.3 billion in 2012 and $8 billion in the first half of 2011.

Sanctions have pushed down Iran's currency to about 25,000 rials against the US dollar compared to 11,000 rials just over two years ago -- or just two years ago. Also, the inflation rate is currently just over 32 percent. It went above 40 percent in July, more than doubling since 2011.

And the jobless rate has also soared, especially amongst the young. According to Iran's government, nearly a quarter of its citizens 15 to 24- year-olds are unemployed. Outside sources estimate the actual numbers are much, much higher.

To understand how these sanctions are impacting everyday life in Iran, let's cross over to Reza Sayah. He's been looking at this in Tehran. Reza?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Max, when you list those statistics, it all of the sudden becomes very clear why many Iranians are anxiously waiting to see the outcome of this third round of nuclear talks in Geneva. They see this as the best opportunity in more than three decades to improve their lives and get rid of these economic sanctions that have really crippled this economy.

And really, when President Rouhani took office a few months ago, voted in by a very young population here, he came in with the mandate to fix the economy, and many people, including the leadership, they're aware that the quickest way to fix the economy is to ease or lift these sanctions, and that's certainly the effort that's underway here in Iran by the president and by the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Many Iranians want to see a fair agreement with the West, with Washington. At the same time, they don't want to be viewed as backing down to Western powers. They want their right to enrich uranium and the right to a peaceful nuclear program. They thought they had an agreement ten days ago in Geneva in the second round of the talks. It didn't happen. They're hoping for a better outcome this time.

Of course, these negotiations are complicated. And one indication how complicated is the fact that these particular talks going on today in Geneva have nothing to do with the be-all end-all sweeping deal that would end once and for all the nuclear dilemma. This is only an interim agreement designed to boost confidence and trust.

And even this interim agreement is facing some serious obstacles. First and foremost, the many groups, including the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu sounding the alarm that this will not be a fair deal and Iran is not to be trusted.

Iran responding, Max, with their own PR campaign. The foreign minister yesterday released a video clip on YouTube calling on the world to support a fair deal between Iran and the world powers. And now all eyes on Geneva to see if this time they can make it happen.

FOSTER: Yes, the suspicion is, Reza, that Iran is just stalling so it can continue a nuclear program. How does it convince the international community, particularly the US and Israel, that actually they are serious about this and they're not stalling, they're actually in serious negotiations?

SAYAH: That is the suspicion, but Iran says its position is simple, but its position doesn't get much attention from world powers and the international media.

And their position is for at least ten years, world powers, the Israeli government, has sounded the alarm about Iran's nuclear program, but they say not a single authoritative, unbiased, objective authority or government has made proof any evidence that Iran is making a bomb.

They also say they're proceeding with their nuclear program under IAEA guidelines and they believe -- they're confident that there could be a way with which world powers could come in and verify that Iran is not baking a bomb -- making a bomb, and that's what they're hoping, Max.

FOSTER: Reza, thank you. Well, to discuss the potential deal on the table, I'm joined by Francois Nicoullaud. He served as France's ambassador to Tehran from 2001 to 2005 and has followed the Iranian situation very closely. And I'm also joined from Washington by Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy. It's a group that's been critical of Iran in the past.

First of all, Francois, we do need to see some sort of convincing evidence, don't we, that Iran isn't just stalling before you do something serious about sanctions?

FRANCOIS NICOULLAUD, FORMER FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO IRAN: In fact, for suspicion to disappear, for worries to disappear, we need first a good agreement. When there is a good agreement, if this agreement is applied faithfully, then worries, then suspicion will slowly disappear. This is the bed that we have to make in this sort of situation.

FOSTER: So, should the Americans, for example, be the first -- should they act first and reduce sanctions in good faith before they've seen any hard evidence of any change in Iran?

NICOULLAUD: No, no, no, no, no. Of course it's a give and take thing. If there is an agreement, an interim agreement, as was said just recently, if there an interim agreement, there will be gestures from both sides. Iran has to make some gesture, and on our side, on the side of people who sanction, we have to lift at least on a transitory basis we have to lift at least some sanctions.

This is the deal. This is the first deal. And of course, sanctions will be lifted at the end of the process and will take, of course, several months, perhaps one year to reach a general, complete global agreement on this nuclear plan.

FOSTER: OK. Cliff, we're talking there about some sort of gesture from the Iranian side. What would a gesture be that would be enough to convince the Americans to reduce the sanctions?

CLIFFORD D. MAY, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Reducing sanctions is a concrete measure, and I think there needs to be more than a gesture, there needs to be a concession. There needs to be compromises on both sides.

So, the Iranians -- there are many things the Iranians could do that would be considered to be a serious concession to show that they do not want, do not need, and do not have nuclear weapons. This is what they've been saying.

And I think what needs to happen is there is a process here of real give and take, not just gestures, right from the beginning, where America gives something and the Iranian regime gives something as well.

And that's what we didn't see in the previous Geneva negotiations, which is why the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, called it a sucker's deal and essentially stopped that deal from occurring. We need to go beyond that and there have to be real concessions.

Now, let me just also say that I think the Iranians are not eager to do that. We had recently Ali Motahari, a parliamentarian, saying negotiations should be a form in which Iran gets concessions but gives none. I think we have to make clear that that is not something that we'll go along with.

FOSTER: It does feel, doesn't it, Francois, as if the onus really is on the Iranians to do something quite substantial --

NICOULLAUD: No, it doesn't.

FOSTER: -- and they're not going to do something substantial? As you say, your word is "gesture."

NICOULLAUD: When I say there are going to be gestures, there are going to be concrete gestures. We know that Iran is ready, for instance, to suspend its production of 20 percent enriched uranium. We know that Iran is ready to limit its enrichment capacity. We know that. There are things in the offing, there's no problem --


FOSTER: OK, let me just stop you there, then --

NICOULLAUD: -- it's just --

FOSTER: -- if I can ask Cliff, would they be concrete gestures to you?

MAY: Well, I think the devil's in the details, and they're technical details, and I think the French prime minister was right in seeing that the details hadn't been worked out. Look, the centrifuges could stop.


MAY: The centrifuges could -- and I apologize for this -- could be -- you could begin to dismantle them, you can talk about having uranium out of the country. The construction of the plutonium reactor at Iraq, you can stop the construction, because plutonium is another path to nuclear weapons. You don't need to continue with that.

You could talk about seriously intrusive inspections, which would mean the additional protocol, as it's called. The Iranians have not agreed to any of that, and I think they need to agree to at least a part of that before they can expect to have some of the economic pressure lifted.

FOSTER: Francois, what we're talking about in Geneva, though, is really creating some sort of pre-agreement, aren't we, that can lead to that? So, do you think we're going to get that in the next couple of days?

NICOULLAUD: Yes, I think there is a real possibility to reach an agreement because everybody knows, in fact, what everybody can put in the basket from the Iranian side and from the Western side. We have to be careful on our side not to ignore the sanctions. They're difficult to install, if I may say. And then people are reluctant to lift them. It's always too early to lift sanctions.

It's true that the Iranians have to make serious, concrete gestures. But if we found -- if they do it, we should be, I would say, generous in lifting at least part of the sanctions.

FOSTER: Francois Nicoullaud, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Also, Cliff May in Washington, appreciate your time. You can learn much more about the background to the current negotiations and the issues separating the different sides by going to our website,

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. A day in the life of a tugboat captain. We follow an expert through a St. Petersburg harbor.


FOSTER: After his ship was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2008, Viktor Nikolsky abandoned sailing the world seas. But he didn't lose his love of ships. On tonight's the Gateway, Becky takes us through a day in the life of a tugboat captain who masterfully guides vessels through a harbor in St. Petersburg.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A ballet on the Baltic, choreographed by a master of his craft. Viktor Nikolsky is the captain of the Neptune, a tugboat that can tow ships ten times its size.

VIKTOR NIKOLSKY, TUGBOAT CAPTAIN, ST. PETERSBURG PORT: A tug is small but powerful. Quite powerful.

ANDERSON: Every day, the Port of St. Petersburg can host up to 150 ships. Tugboats like this one can push and pull them through the harbor's narrow channels.

NIKOLSKY: Communication is a very important thing in the moving operations. Every 20 seconds, approximately, orders from the pilot.


NIKOLSKY: In ten minutes, we'll turn around the vessel. The way to the open sea will be approximately two or two and a half hours.

ANDERSON: The open sea, beyond the bounds of St. Petersburg's port, is where Viktor has spent most of his life, much of it aboard cargo ships, and often in hazardous waters.

NIKOLSKY: We know that the Somalian region is very dangerous for navigation. Second officer told me, "Viktor, I saw two white targets at sea. Small targets."

ANDERSON: Nikolsky and the 21 crew members were at the mercy of Somali pirates.

NIKOLSKY: It was 25th of September, 2008, and we spent on the hijacking 134 days. Fourteen square meters, 21 persons.

ANDERSON: Hope was lost when the hijackers found out that the ship was loaded with unusual cargo: 10,000 tons of military equipment.

NIKOLSKY: Well, they saw what kind of cargo. The price for restoration, $50 million.

ANDERSON: It took more than four months of difficult negotiations and the aid of the US Navy to free the crew.

NIKOLSKY: The pirates received $3.2 million.

ANDERSON (on camera): OK, so not quite what they wanted --


ANDERSON: -- but they got some money.


ANDERSON: And you sailed away?

NIKOLSKY: Yes, and sailed away.

ANDERSON: That's amazing.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Today, Viktor charts the more familiar waters of St. Petersburg Port.

NIKOLSKY: After the Somali -- I received from my family the strong order: be here! I miss the sea every time. In my dreams, when I sleep, sometimes I see the very clear water and vessel moving through the blue, clear water.

ANDERSON: These days, his tugboat is dwarfed by the huge ships he tows, but Nikolsky's experience sailing these vessels is invaluable in keeping St. Petersburg port moving.


FOSTER: Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, deep beneath the surface, some of Poland's hidden history.


FOSTER: And now this week's CNN's On the Road series is bringing you greater insight into the customs and culture of Poland. When you think about exploring the country, you may not even consider what lies beneath your feet. Paula has, though. She's On the Road in Poland and joins us from Warsaw. What's below you, Paula?


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Max, I never thought of this. In fact, I didn't even know anything like this existed on Earth. But when you are beneath the surface -- certainly everything around me is glorious and the architecture and the history here in Poland is something to behold.

But to go underneath the surface and see what regular, average miners through the century have created, absolutely stunning. When you watch this, I want you to keep in mind, it is 100 percent salt. Take a look.


NEWTON (voice-over): We descend as if to the depths of Polish history and faith.

NEWTON (on camera): Mark, this is stunning. This is unlike anything I've every seen before. Where are we right now?

MARK STROJNY, MUSEUM GUIDE: We are in the most famous and the deepest underground church of the world. It's called the Chapel of St. Kinga. Everything you may see around here was carved by three miners, amateurs --

NEWTON: Only three miners.

STROJNY: Yes. It took them 67 years.

NEWTON: Everything I see here --

STROJNY: Everything is salt.

NEWTON: -- is salt?

STROJNY: Reliefs, figures, altars, chandeliers made of salt crystals.

NEWTON: The floor?

STROJNY: The floor also, which is one single block of salt, 101 meters below the surface.

NEWTON (voice-over): Salt as art? Well, the skepticism melts as you wind your way through this wonder of a mineshaft. It is a thing of beauty carved from the most basic of elements: rock salt. For centuries, this was also a working salt mine, a real treasure for a Polish kingdom when salt was as valuable as oil

NEWTON (on camera): This was a working mine, it produced salt for many, many years, centuries, really. Why the artwork? Why the sculptures? Why? How did all this come to be?

STROJNY: First, miners, they carved figures in chapels, in churches, underground. They wanted to have places to pray. Their work was dangerous. There were floods, there were fires. There were explosions of methane. So, they wanted to pray. So first, really, they carved figures in churches. We still have underground about 40 chapels.

NEWTON: Forty?

STROJNY: Forty. Exactly.

NEWTON: Lots of --

STROJNY: Four-zero --

NEWTON: -- places to pray for your heath.

STROJNY: -- a lot of.

NEWTON (voice-over): This is a vast warren of artful beauty totally unexpected. It's easy to forget when you're down here that this is salt, the kind that's usually next to the pepper.

And here is still another part of this mine, a place where we have an exclusive look-see. But not before we don on some safety gear. Top engineers here tell us of course they are working to keep the mine from caving in, but what really keeps them up at night?

STROJNY: The most dangerous thing, and let's say the challenge which is still very important and dangerous is the water, fresh water.


NEWTON: Thousands of liters of water per day still seep into this mine. During Communist days, many here worried about preservation and, more crucially, if the Soviets could really appreciate what this place means to Polish history.

NEWTON (on camera): Why do you think it's such an important place historically?

STROJNY: Because it shows, I think, all parts of Polish history, they are all shown here in the mine.

NEWTON (voice-over): Salt was as important to the Polish kingdom back then as oil or gold would be today. It sustained livelihoods, culture, and faith. What's surprising is that it's all now perfectly reflected in the art and architecture of a place lovingly built not by commissioned artists, but patriotic miners.


NEWTON: Miners who were doing this in their spare time, I'm told. Through the years, miners have stayed extra time down there. They really lovingly created all this.

And I really have to underscore, Max, a lot of this came out of their faith. They did believe that it was incredibly dangerous down there in that mine, and they thought the more reverence they could give to their faith and to God and pray to saints that they thought that it would keep them safe and make sure that they returned to their families when their job was done.

And you know me, Max, I just had to taste it. Had to make sure it was salt.


NEWTON: I did that, too, and little known fact: that rock salt is actually stronger than marble. Because you kind of have this sense of, well, how doesn't it just crumble over the years.

And the problems they have are with trying to keep the structure of the mine intact, and they have superb engineers figuring out how to do that each and every day. But the statues themselves, incredibly preserved. The church is just something to behold.

FOSTER: You've unfolded some fascinating stories whilst you've been there. You've traveled the world, of course, Paula. What struck you about Poland, because you're clearly quite taken with it.

NEWTON: I've been here before and I've traveled throughout the country, but it's the energy this time, Max. It is completely different, and it's contagious when you come here.

They are reclaiming this country after a generation. They are very passionate about wanting to live here, wanting to work here. And they see people from outside Europe wanting to come to Poland to kind of partake of this rebirth.

We talked earlier in the show that they are having some troubles economically, but really, the growth that they have seen, I can't underscore enough how much of an economic miracle it is. But it's so much more than that.

They're really right into their culture again and really their history, reclaiming all of that for themselves and really improving their livelihoods. Great cities to live in here, and you're really feeling that energy.

And we're going to show you more of that tomorrow. I'm really excited about this story. Again, a lot of tragic history in this country that no one here wants to forget. On the other hand, a striking piece of architecture I have to show you tomorrow that's really helping many people in this country heal.

FOSTER: Looking forward to it again. Paula, thank you very much, indeed.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD next, liquid assets or is this wad of cash is floating in mystery.


FOSTER: Now tonight's Parting Shots. Not cold, hard cash, but cold, wet notes. An honest dog-walker in Lincolnshire here in the UK found these soggy bank notes floating down a waterway. What would you do? There's around $100,000 worth of notes in total, though a large amount of them were damaged. It really is a case of money down the drain. That waterway is called the South Drove Drain.

The money was found last month and police are now looking for its owner. They're even roping in the Bank of England to help with the forensic examination. Don't think this is easy money, though. Police have warned if you're thinking of making a claim on it, you'd better have evidence that it's yours. Good luck.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. "Quest Means Business" with Maggie Lake is coming up next.