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Nuclear Deal with Iran; Obama Takes a Hit; Miles Steals the Show; Holiday Travel Plans Threatened; Interview With Sen. Lindsey Graham

Aired November 25, 2013 - 08:00   ET




BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Deal or deal to make a deal? President Obama strikes a short term agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear program. But the plan is being criticized from left and right. We will show you what we get and what we give.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Weather woes. Brutal storm system that's crippled the southwest is now moving East. The timeline is not looking good for holiday travel. We're tracking it all this morning.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Showdown. It is the amazing impromptu dance that's gone viral. The kid versus the legend. The winner yet to be determined so they join us live this morning in studio for a dance off.

CUOMO: You're "NEW DAY" continues right now.



ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: This agreement could not --


CUOMO: Good morning and welcome back to "NEW DAY", everyone. It is Monday, November 25th, 8:00 in the East.

After decades of diplomatic gridlock a historic agreement has been reached between Iran and the west. Iran agreed to a six-month plan to scale back its nuclear programs for the lifting of some sanctions. This deal is leaving Israelis and some members of Congress, though, up in arms. Chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is in Geneva, covering all of the negotiations, a long weekend for you, Jim.

So what do we know?


Well, no time to celebrate the deal. The ink was barely dry on the agreement before started hearing stiff opposition to it from Israel, from Saudi Arabia, and as you say on Capitol Hill, even some Democratic lawmakers will be pushing for new sanctions, even as this deal gets under way.

But I'll tell you, being there in those early hours Sunday morning when the deal was signed, you really got a sense that you're watching history in the making.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): A historic agreement in Geneva early Sunday sealed with a hug.

KERRY: This agreement could not have been reached without the decision of the Iranian government to come to the table and negotiate.

SCIUTTO: Back home in the U.S., some politicians on both sides of the aisle sharply criticized the deal.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: We have just rewarded very bad and dangerous behavior. So think about what this agreement does. It says you can continue to enrich, that's what the Iranians believe, and they have made no changes, no changes in the development of their nuclear weapon program.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), NEW YORK: It's disappointing to me that Iran is still going to be allowed to enrich while they are talking. I would have thought that should be a prerequisite to any kind of talks.

SCIUTTO: After three weeks of intensive talks, the deal puts unprecedented limits on Iran's nuclear program. Iran limits enrichment of uranium to well below the level needed to make a nuclear bomb. Iran dilutes its existing stockpile of highly enriched uranium and allows intrusive daily monitoring of all of its nuclear sites.

In exchange, the West economic sanctions on Iran will be eased, $7 billion in relief. But in a case of diplomatic ambiguity it allows for a very different interpretation of Iran's rights.

KERRY: It is not in this document, there is no right to enrich.

SCIUTTO: Iran's foreign minister said the deal gave Iran what it has long sought -- formal recognition of its freedom to develop a peaceful nuclear program including enriching uranium.

The deal will only last for six months. It presses a pause a button on Iran's nuclear program but it doesn't press delete. And it will all happen in the face of bitter differences between the U.S. and America's closest ally on the region.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: What was concluded in Geneva last night is not historic agreement. It's a historic mistake. It's not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.


SCIUTTO: This agreement lasts for six months, as we said and that will give time to negotiate a longer term status for Iran's nuclear program. One thing the White House telling us this morning is that they are going start immediately consulting with Israel about the outlines of that longer term agreement to try to get them on board.

But, Chris, you know, in light of Israel's very public, very stiff opposition to this agreement it's hard to see how they do succeed in getting Israel on board.

CUOMO: And very clear issues on both sides. So, Jim, thank you very much for laying them out for us.

Let's bring in CNN's chef international correspondent Christiane Amanpour to figure out why both sides feel the way they do.

So, Christiane, so it couldn't be more stark. You have a historic break through or a historic mistake. It can't be both. But give us the break down of why the two sides are where they are here.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, having covered this for many years and having spoken to all key players in this negotiation, I think what's boiling down is this. First of all, the word "historic" is misplaced. If you remember in the early 2000s, Iran actually froze its entire program and then wanted to do a deal with the United States and President Bush's administration said no.

So now, we've had all this progress in the last ten years or so and this people here in Europe, intelligence chiefs and others are saying is the best deal at this precise moment to suspend, freeze, roll back parts of Iran's nuclear program for a period of six months or more, depending on how long the comprehensive talks take, in return for actually very modest sanctions.

Everybody is bandying about $7 billion. That's a fraction of the very heavy sanctions that are imposed on Iran. They are also reversible. Also, this deal, this interim deal has a trust but verify component. The IAEA, the U.N. inspectors will be monitoring it very, very closely.

And, by the way, the director general of the IAEA told me in the last three or four months said Iran has not expanded its nuclear program and they believe there's a significant political shift in Iran trying to move forward on this whole issue.

CUOMO: So, a lot of this rests on the shoulders of Rouhani, because this is really, when we're talking about the test of trust, it's really his ability to make the government comply. The other side of that, though, Christiane, and speak to this, please, is that this deal should only start with Iran stopping first before anything else happens.

Is that too simple a notion?

AMANPOUR: No. I mean, this deal is clear. It's pointed out. There is a clear road map for this interim deal of six months.

The thing that has changed in Iran, you're right, is Rouhani, who A, was elected, and B, has managed to bring all the important areas of consensus in Iran, the power centers behind them, including the supreme leader and for the moment, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. So this is actually quite important. In Iran there was a great deal of cheering.

Now, I know the opponents will say yes because Iran got what it wanted and it stiffed Israel, it stiffed the United States, it's basically a wolf in sheep's clothing as Prime Minister says.

But here's what U.S. analysts and former officials are saying. What's the alternative? Sanctions have not brought Iran to capitulation. That's what Israel want, capitulation, and indeed many in the Senate in the United States. Sanctions have desperately hurt Iran, desperately hurt its economy, that's true. But they have not forced often years of the most sophisticated sanctions regime, they have not forced Iran to capitulate over its nuclear program.

So the alternative is have a negotiated deal, the comprehensive deal is going to be very difficult to work, or have a very extensive war. And there seems to be no appetite, certainly in the United States, for that.

CUOMO: So we have a very toxic political environment in the United States right now of which you're well aware. Looking at minds outside of the United States, is there consensus as to whether or not this was the right way to go about finding progress in the situation?

AMANPOUR: It really depends who you speak to. Obviously, Benjamin Netanyahu's government doesn't believe so.

But let me tell you, I've spoken to Mossad heads, former top Israeli officials who said we got to try negotiating and who say that Israel is secure, it's confident, it's powerful, it shouldn't always be looking at world issues through -- and this is the former Mossad told me -- through existential lens that Israel can defend itself, it's a strong country and that somehow there needs be an end to this program by negotiations. So many Israelis believe that. The Saudis are very, very angry.

The Obama administration is going to have a huge selling job not just to Netanyahu but to the Saudis and Gulf Arabs who don't trust the Iranians, who also worry about the rise in Iranian power compared to their power. They have been the dominant player in the Middle East and who also -- and this is bad -- do not trust the Obama administration. Many other issues whether it's Egypt, whether it's Syria, whatever it may be are pretty angry with the Obama administration at the moment.

But, what others are saying is that both President Rouhani and President Obama should be commended for at least getting to this point despite all the noise coming from every flank, every which way.

CUOMO: You know, that is somewhat of a hidden point. What we've seen with the Arab spring everything has been taken through force. Right now this is still diplomacy and you have to take progress where you find it.

Christiane Amanpour, thank you very much for the perspective as always.

Now, obviously we're going to talk about this more because the domestic politics are going to dominate the deal, especially here in the United States. So, we'll have Senator Lindsey Graham on with his thoughts at the bottom of the hour. Stick around for that.


PEREIRA: All right. Let's take a look at your headlines. Thanks, Chris.

President Obama's poll numbers taking a massive hit. The latest CNN/ORC poll shows 46 percent of Americans believe he's trustworthy. That's down 58 percent in May. Even worse only 40 percent believe he can manage the government well down from 52 percent.

Despite his troubles, the president remains like scrabble for about seven in ten people. That survey was taken after Obama backtracked on his promise that people could keep their health ambulance under Obamacare.

National security advisor Susan Rice is in Afghanistan this morning set to meet with government officials. This comes after Afghan President Hamid Karzai's decision to delay signing a crucial security deal that would leave U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond next year.

A group of Afghan elders voted in favor of the deal and advise that Karzai promptly signed. He is deferring any agreement until after elections in April. The U.S. asked for a deal by the end of this year.

A Connecticut prosecutor plans to release a new report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. It will not include the full state police report which is said to contain gruesome photographs and witness statements. It is expected to shed new light on gunman Adam Lanza, his possible motive and police response to that shooting.

A frightening fall at Oakland when a woman leapt from the third level deck after the Raiders lost Sunday. A man below pleaded with her not to jump, but when she did, plunging 60 feet. That man, a 61-year-old Marine Corps veteran tried to catch her. He's now being credited with saving her life. Both have been taken to hospital. He with minor injuries, however, she is listed in critical condition.

Music heavy weights, music industry heavyweights took center stage at the American Music Awards Sunday night. Taylor winning artist of the year, J.T. and Rihanna taking home top honors.

Now, unlike her VMA performance, Miley Cyrus was a bit more demure during her song of "Wrecking Ball." The lip-synching kitten really, though, stealing the show. I could stare at it forever because I'm trying to understand what it's communicating to me.

CUOMO: I don't like that it doesn't blink.

BOLDUAN: Deeper meaning the kitten?

PEREIRA: Unblinking --

BOLDUAN: Just saw it blink.

PEREIRA: Just one blink.

BOLDUAN: It's all better now.

CUOMO: I'm shocked. Now, it's all OK. I'm surprised she wore so much clothes.


BOLDUAN: -- kitten to stop coming into the show.

PEREIRA: Just feed it a little bit.


BOLDUAN: Miley was like overdressed. Too much on. Getting a little demure in her old age.

BOLDUAN: Demure and let's just talk about the kitten. OK.

CUOMO: At least it blinked. Now I know it's real.

BOLDUAN: And it's crying diamond.

All right. Coming up next on "NEW DAY", a severe storm is packing a punch for a huge part of the country, bringing heavy rain, winds, snow and ice. It's set to be quite a snag in the holiday travel plans for many. We're going to be tracking the latest developments for you.

CUOMO: Unfortunately custody battles can get ugly. An Olympic superstar caught in a nasty court fight over their child. A California court gave custody to him of his son. A New York court took it away. What's going on? We'll tell you the story.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". There are now at least ten deaths resulting from that brutal storm that began in California. It is pummeling Texas. Well, now, it's moving towards the east coast bringing snow, freezing rain, fierce winds, and frigid temperatures along with it. The timing, of course, could not be worse for holiday travel. Flights have already been canceled and many more travel delays are expected to be right along the way.

Indra Petersons is tracking it all for us. So, what do we know at this hour because I know you said there are a lot of variables, though, can be changing its path.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: So many variables, Kate. And also, right now, we're already seeing that freezing rain now moving in through little Rock, Arkansas and it's not the only story. Take a look at the map. You can actually see all the reports of snow and also freezing rain and notice that that system is now pushing in through Arkansas which is only a sign of the travel woes still to come.


PETERSONS (voice-over): The brunt of a massive winter storm crossed through Texas overnight as temperatures plummeted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not Texas winter. This is Alaska.

PETERSONS: Watch as this SUV in Oklahoma City tumbles off the highway due to treacherous ice covered roads. The ice, snow, and sleet have already caused several deaths.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it gets really bad, we're going to encourage folks to stay home.

PETERSONS: In East Texas, icy roads caused singer, Willie Nelson's, tour bus to plow into bridge, injuring three band members. The deadly arctic blast now headed straight for the east coast as holiday travelers prepare to hit the roads and airports. Many cities will continue to see temperatures up to 20 degrees below average.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just stings your skin to be outside.

PETERSONS: It all started out west where strong winds in the San Francisco Bay area downed trees and power lines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard a big crack and the house started banging and things started kind of falling.

PETERSONS: And almost two inches of rain flooded roads in Phoenix, Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crazy. It's super, super crazy. I hope it's going to be calm soon.

PETERSONS: Sleet combined with wind gusts reaching up to 50 miles an hour in New Mexico killed a four-year-old girl after her family's car rolled over along the highway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wind has just been tremendous. It's here now.

PETERSONS: As the week progresses, increasing travel delays may be unavoidable. Torrential rain and snow is expected to hit the major travel hubs during this hectic holiday week.


PETERSONS (on-camera): Well, let's take a look at the system right now. You can actually see it's going to continue to pull up even more moisture out of the gulf and it'll make its way across the Carolinas and then combine as it makes its way up the eastern seaboard with another system diving down across the lakes here.

So with that, a lot of moisture and cold air combing, never a good situation, especially with the timing of it all. Now, things can constantly change it involves with this weather -- but here's the best scenario we have right now. We're looking at two to four inches today really from Texas kind of in through Mississippi in through tomorrow. That heavy rain spread into the Carolinas and then up the eastern seaboard but light rain in through tomorrow.

Keep in mind, though, in the mid-Atlantic, we're starting to talk about freezing rain and sleet and then even some snow falling back in the Ohio Valley, even upstate New York, also Pittsburgh. Then, as we get in through Tuesday night in through Wednesday, this is the strongest period of concern right now.

We're talking about not only heavy rain closer that you are to the coast more rain you're expected to see, then behind it, more likely some snow. We're also talking about strong winds out there. So, even if we're just talking about heavy rain, you have the concern of delays just from the wind alone. Snow amounts anywhere even up to a foot could be out there. And then, as we get in through Wednesday the farther you go throughout the day, this system will start to dissipate.

So your better chance of later on in Wednesday, because take a look at Thursday, you can now see we're going to be left with as the system does clear out for Thanksgiving is just those leftover flurries. Again, we keep talking about this all about the timing here as they come together. So any one of these elements showed (ph) us timing where a lot of moisture they, everything changes.

BOLDUAN: All right, Indra. Thank you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And yet, the airlines are already making their decisions, right? I mean, no matter what happens with the (INAUDIBLE). That's far we go through right now.

In Dallas, airport officials are already pre-canceling hundreds of flights ahead of the storm creating headaches across the nation. So let's get down there to CNN's Nick Valencia at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. What's the situation on the ground? NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, travel problems here, Chris, aren't just here in Dallas, but really, it's what's happening here is a microcosm of what's happening all across the United States. We're talking about impact to Central Pennsylvania to upstate New York. Its injure what's talking about, that severe weather system moving through Arkansas, creating really major headaches all throughout the United States.

Take a look up here at the departure. There's a lot of canceled flights up there. Eighty-six flights canceled this morning. That's in addition to 300 flights canceled yesterday and that really cause ad ripple effect all across the United States. And you guys know this week it's a busy holiday travel week.

Forty million Americans expected to go about 50 miles or more away from home. So for those of you that are traveling, please pay attention to those travel advisories and check with the airlines to make sure that your flight hasn't been delayed or canceled. We've talked to so many passengers here that say their flights are delayed this morning. Some are little more angry than others. Chris and Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, nick. Thanks so much.

Coming up next on "NEW DAY", not everyone supports a history making deal between Iran and the west. We're going to talk with Republican senator, Lindsey graham, and get his take. He's going to explain why he's calling Iran the new North Korea.

CUOMO: And Olympic skier, Bode Miller, locked in a bitter custody dispute. A California court gave him custody of his son. A New York court overturned the decision. We'll explain this case that certainly pulls at the heart strings.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Forget about us. It's on and here right now. I thought it was just a temperature, but the dance is just heating up here. Welcome back to "NEW DAY". It's Monday, November 25th. Coming up, we do have this epic dance off in the suburb of Detroit. An 11-year-old fan and an usher at the Piston's game. Boston moves. I think some of them are mine. That right there.

BOLDUAN: Yes. He's --


CUOMO: The video has gone viral. And now, they're battling it live in the studio. It's like beat street all over again in here. Don't smile at him. He's not your friend. He's your competition.


BOLDUAN: We're going to decide who wins.

CUOMO: That's it.

BOLDUAN: Finally.

CUOMO: This is good. This is good stuff, Mick.

PEREIRA: I've been working on Antoine's game face. Show me your game face. That's right.


PEREIRA: -- five things to know for your NEW DAY.


PEREIRA (voice-over): A train derailing overnight in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Amtrak train was heading from New Orleans to New York. All of the seven cars involved remained upright. No reports, thankfully, of serious injuries.

Just released polls shows President Obama is taking a big hit. A clear majority of Americans answering no to the question, is President Obama honest and trustworthy?

More details are expected to be revealed today about the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut. A summary report will be released on the shooting that left 20 children and six adults and gunman Adam Lanza dead.

Crucial meeting happening today between Russian president, Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis at the Vatican. It's the first meeting between two. They're set to discuss a number of topics including developments in Syria.

Big day today. America's Christmas tree arrives in the capital. Eighty-eight Engelmann (ph) spruce all the way from Washington State. The tree has been on a cross-country tour making nearly two dozen stops along the way.


PEREIRA (on-camera): I cannot wait to see it. It's going to be beautiful. We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

More now on the interim deals that limits Iran's nuclear abilities. Several members of Congress from both sides of the aisle saying that the deal is not tough enough. Senator Lindsey Graham is a Republican from South Carolina, of course, and a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee joining us now to talk more about this. Good morning, senator.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Good morning. BOLDUAN: So you have long been skeptical of the negotiations, but you now know the interim deal. Good deal, bad deal?

GRAHAM: Well, I've seen a movie like this before called North Korea did not end well. I don't think this -- what is this deal accomplish in terms of the end game? The end game is to dismantle the plutonium reactor. The end game should be to stop enrichment. This still allows 18,000 centrifuges to stay in place and it basically just suspends construction of the plutonium reactor. We're so far away from what the end game should look like. I'm very worried.

BOLDUAN: You're very worried, but how is this not a positive first step towards that end game? Many folks are asking, why not? What's the alternative?

GRAHAM: Well, we had a chance to deliver a body blow. The sanctions actually worked, but this interim deal gives the Iranian $7 billion in cash and it leaves in place one of the most sophisticated enrichment programs around. Ten years ago, there were 200 centrifuges. Now, there are now 18,000. The plutonium reactor is still very much able to be assembled.

We did this with North Korea. They promise to not go forward on a reactor that's about to come on line this year. When you relieve sanctions in North Korea, the North Koreans took the money and broke out. That's exactly why I worry about here. The centrifuges that are left in place really create a capability to go nuclear. You don't need 20 percent enriched uranium anymore in Iran to make a weapon.

You can do it with 3.5 percent. So this deal is so far away from the end game. Can I tell you what I think Congress will be doing?

BOLDUAN: Please tell me.

GRAHAM: We're going to come up with a new round of sanctions that really defines the end game. I think there's bipartisan support to dismantle the plutonium reactor and to stop enriching in Iran completely. After 30 years of chaos, mayhem and murder by the Iranian regime, should they really be allowed to enrich uranium? The 20 percent uranium that's been diluted, that's a good start.