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Trump Warns Of Iranian Nuclear Threat; Reaction From Saudi Arabia On Trump Visit; President Donald Trump Visits Israel; Rouhani Wins Another Term In Iran; Women Take To Afghanistan's Airwaves. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired May 22, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:03] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, second stop: Israel. Sitting with the Prime Minister, Donald Trump follows past Presidents
vowing that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on his watch. Reaction from the Iranian Vice President, Masoumeh Ebtekar, as President Rouhani
celebrates a massive re-election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASOUMEH EBTEKAR, IRANIAN VICE PRESIDENT: The Iranian nation has come to the polls, they have stood behind the President, behind their country, and
I think it's very clear that the Iranian nation wants peace and prosperity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: President Trump is still glowing from his red carpet reception in Riyadh, where he signed a record arms deal with Saudi Arabia as he tries
to unite countries in the region against Iran. The former Ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki al-Faisal, joins me on the region's efforts to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE TURKI AL-FAISAL, SAUDI ARABIA FORMER AMBASSADOR TO WASHINGTON: If you think that the elections in Iran mean anything, just go back to the
time of Rafsanjani and Khatami when they also posed as so-called moderate, democratic, freedom-loving leaders. And what happened? We saw Iran embark
on this very negative attitude toward its neighbors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour, in London. He sees himself as the ultimate deal
maker, who can do what no other U.S. President has done before; that is bringing peace to the Middle East. So, Donald Trump has his work cut out,
as he tours Israel and the west bank on his first overseas trip as U.S. President. Arriving in Tel Aviv, he wasted no time in uniting with Israel
against their common foe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: Most importantly, the United States and Israel can declare, with one voice, that Iran must never
be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon. Never, ever! And must cease its deadly funding, training, and equipping of terrorists and militias.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Leaving behind all the crises and controversy back home, President Trump arrived in Israel from Saudi Arabia, where he signed a
whopping weapons deal worth several hundreds of billions of dollars. He called for a global coalition against terrorism and again isolating Iran.
All this, as Iranians overwhelmingly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, who says that his victory shows the world that Iranians have voted to end
extremism and violence. We'll hear from Iran's Vice President later. But first, Prince Turki al-Faisal was Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to Britain and
the United States in the difficult period after 9/11, and he was Saudi Arabia's Intelligence Chief for more than two decades. He joined me from
AMANPOUR: Prince Turki al-Faisal, welcome to the program.
Al-FAISAL: Nice to be back with you, Ms. Amanpour.
AMANPOUR: Now, you have just had a what? You describe it for me, the visit from President Trump. How important was it for Saudi Arabia to have
this first visit from the President of the United States? It is not a usual destination for newly elected Presidents.
AL-FAISAL: Well, I think it was inevitable that the United States recognizes the importance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim
world. As you know, the kingdom hosts the two holiest cities in Islam and receives on a yearly basis - pilgrims that number in the millions. And so,
whatever comes out of these places resonates with the 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the world. And so, Mr. Trump's visit here I think was, as I
said, inevitable and something that we Saudis appreciate very much.
AMANPOUR: What do you make of the fact that President Trump was incredibly respectful, and his speech made no illusions to any of the anti-Islamic,
anti-Muslim statements that he made over and over again on the campaign trail, including Islam hates us. Where do you think he is now in how he
feels about you and about the faith?
AL-FAISAL: Well, he said it in his speech. I think he - once he became President and was briefed on the reality of what the world is all about,
he's come around to the view that we Muslims are rather a constructive bunch rather than a negative and destructive enemy.
[14:05:12] AMANPOUR: Let me be very frank. His speech was about trying to gather a coalition against terrorism. In his campaign, and before, he
pointed the finger very, very dramatically at Saudi Arabia, 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi, and in his speech, he said, "drive them out, drive
them out, drive them out." You heard it. The mantra. An exhortation to all of you in that room. What did you make of that?
AL-FAISAL: Well, I thought it was a very clear statement of where he is coming from, and that was something that we respect. If this is something
that he believes and he said it openly and directly without any retouch. And so, I think the answer he got from the leaders when he met with them
one on one is that we all share in this responsibility.
AMANPOUR: The real big issue, wasn't it, was apart from the multi-billion dollar arms sales and other investments, was Iran. It was to try to gather
a coalition of like-minded, you know, leaders to isolate Iran. So we heard it loud and clear. But what in your mind does that mean? What do you do?
Do you engage militarily against Iran? Do you engage diplomatically? What do you do?
AL-FAISAL: Well, from the point of view of Saudi Arabia, it's been expressed very clearly in the King's speech that Iran is the instigator of
unrest and the troubles that we see in Syria, and Iraq, and Yemen, and in other places. And we must join together in challenging Iran on these
rather negative attitudes that it has in these places. And we've seen a reflection of that in President Trump's destruction of the air base that
was the launching of the chemical attack by the Syrian air force on the Syrian citizens. This is something that Iran, of course, must take into
account, that it is not going to go on being unaccountable to the rest of us. And this has been the case in the past eight years, unfortunately, and
it allowed Iran to believe that it can get away with murder, literally.
AMANPOUR: As we all know, the Saudis, the Persian Gulf States, Israel, were no big fans of President Obama. So, Donald Trump to all of you is a
very welcome change. And one of the things Donald Trump didn't do was talk about human rights and the promotion of democracy, et cetera. I wonder
whether - I would like to play for you what the President of Iran said today, newly re-elected by a massive, massive majority, who want openness
and tolerance and a step away from radicalism. Listen to the President of Iran.
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Mr. Trump came to our region at a time in which the world saw the presence of 45 million strong
Iranian voters at the ballot box in a 24-hour period, yet chose to go to a nation which has never clearly seen the meaning of elections, of such
elections. And I do hope that one day Saudi Arabia will have a similar experience.
AMANPOUR: So, what's your response to that? I mean, he's right. I mean, in the relative democratic experiments of that part of the world, they have
elections. They have women who vote, and work, and drive, and are ministers and you don't.
AL-FAISAL: Well, you know, if you think that the elections in Iran mean anything, just go back to the time of Rafsanjani and Khatami, when they
posed as so-called "moderate, democratic, freedom-loving leaders." And what happened? We saw Iran embark on this very negative attitude towards
its neighbors, it sent an army into Syria. It is bombing the Syrian people with the Bashar al-Assad regime. It is instigating the Shia Militias in
Iraq to destroying Sunni villages and rob the - and ransacking their homes. It is supporting the rebels in Yemen against a legitimate government. What
does that mean? Does it mean that the fact that there were elections in Iran has made Iran a peaceful and very cooperative country? It has not.
So, our internal political and civil activities were in the process of developing them. We don't either claim nor do we say that we are a
democratic state. We are not. But we stick by what we do, and we do no harm to others.
[14:10:18] AMANPOUR: Prince Turki al-Faisal, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.
AL-FAISAL: Thank you, Ms. Amanpour.
AMANPOUR: But in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is engaged in defending the U.N. recognized government against the Houthi rebels. It is, though, an ongoing
proxy war. Now, that the country is in desperate strafes, the threat of famine looms over the population, and according to the charity "Save the
Children," a deadly cholera outbreak could become a full-blown epidemic with more than 65,000 cases expected by the end June. Our team was able to
take this rare look at the alarming conditions inside Yemen right now.
AMANPOUR: A little boy just a few short steps from hospital desperately ill. But he can't get in. There simply is no room. And so, he's being
treated outside, a bag of life-saving fluids hangs from a tree. The doctors have gone back inside and the boy's family are his caregivers for
now. This is what it looks like outside the Sabine Children's Hospital in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, where thousands of suspected cholera victims
have come seeking help.
But inside the hospital, there's hardly any space to move. The wards are full. Patients are being treated in the hallways. 39-year-old, Fanna
Mohammad's two young daughters both have cholera. In fact, this mother of five fears that her whole family could be infected. Fanna says that she
fainted while walking with her children to the hospital. We are sick, she says. My children were about to die.
Keeping a watchful eye over Fanna's daughters and so many others is Dr. Ismail Mansurrey, one of the very few on-duty here. He treats suspected
cholera victims every day. In one two-hour period, he says 200 new patients arrive. He doesn't know where to put them all. They've created
makeshift wards in the open air. The doctor tells CNN the epidemic has reached a critical turning point. It is now three patients to a bed.
The cholera outbreak in this rebel-controlled capital is the latest crisis in a country that's been devastated by two years of civil war; poverty, and
hunger. Just outside this hospital, piles of garbage litter the sidewalk, ending up in the water supply and exacerbating the epidemic. But the
garbage collectors are on strike because like all municipal workers, they haven't been paid in months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The health system is a typical example of the heavy tolls this conflict has taken on the whole country, on its people, but also
on the system. The health, water, sanitation system.
AMANPOUR: Back at the Sabine Children's Hospital, Fanna comforts her two girls. It's been a difficult time for this family. Like so many others,
they also barely have anything to eat. Fanna says "once a day, we mix bread crumbs with water, and that's only on lucky days. Mostly we go to
bed without having eaten for the entire day." Cholera, of course, is treatable if it's caught in time, but the epidemic is likely to explode if
Yemeni hospitals continue to go without basics, like rehydration fluids, and food.
AMANPOUR: As always, it's the people who are caught up in the deadly politics. And when we come back, Iran not invited but definitely the
elephant in the room in Riyadh. I asked the country's Vice President whether re-electing a reformist can calm regional tensions, that's next.
[14:15:53] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. President Trump's trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia comes as Iranians re-elect by a huge margin
their relatively moderate President, Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani is a cleric, as well as the conservative hard-line opponent, Ebrahim Raisi, but their
visions could hardly be more different. After negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal, Rohani promised to follow through with another four years of reforms,
opening Iran up to the world. This afternoon, he told the press that while the Trump administration was making angry noises at Iran, Iran is not yet
sure what Washington's true policy will be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROUHANI: We are still awaiting certain positions of this U.S. administration to be solidified and properly be able to reflect those
positions, based upon which at that time, we will be able to pass more precise judgments on the government in Washington, D.C.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Masoumeh Ebtekar, is Vice President of Iran and head of that country's Department of the Environment. I spoke to her moments ago from
AMANPOUR: Vice President Ebtekar, welcome to the program.
EBTEKAR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Give me a sense of how the Iranian people are feeling today. You know some have suggested that the polls would be very tight and that it
wasn't sure that President Rouhani would win re-election. And yet, it was a massive and decisive yes to his re-election.
EBTEKAR: The people chose who they thought would take the people towards optimism and hope, and to actually deliver on the promises that he was
giving. They thought that Dr. Rouhani could deliver actually and could bring about the prosperity, the economic growth because he had already
shown his determination and his capability and competence during the past three and a half years. And this is very, very meaningful. Not only for
Iran, but I think for the International Community, for the region. It's very meaningful.
AMANPOUR: As you know, of course, this election came right at the time that President Trump was gathering - for want of a better word, an anti-
Iranian coalition in Saudi Arabia. And this is what he said to the assembled guest in Riyadh.
TRUMP: Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate, deny it; funding for
terrorism cannot do it. And pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they so richly deserve.
AMANPOUR: You know, some people said that was almost tantamount to wanting a different government in Iran. I mean, I don't even want to say the word
regime change, but that's what some people have said. What is the view from where you sit, and where President Rouhani sits?
EBTEKAR: I think that the people have spoken, not in words but in deeds. It's very clear, the Iranian nation has come to the polls. They have stood
behind their President, behind their country, and I think it's very clear that the Iranian nation wants peace and prosperity. President Rouhani has
indicated that he will work to increase and improve relationships with not only neighboring countries but also in the region, but also at the
international level, increasing trade, exchanges, cultural exchanges, diplomatic exchange.
These are very high on the agenda for the current President. This is the message that the Iranian people are giving to the global community. This
is very different from some of the fantasies that have been expressed by people like Mr. Trump. Also, the important point is that funding for the
terrorists is coming exactly from the same country where they're trying to deliver such a very wrong and distorted message about Iran.
[14:20:23] AMANPOUR: I assume you're talking - when you say funding the kind of Daesh and Al Qaeda, I assume you're talking about Saudi Arabia.
Now, they counterpunch and say you, Iran, is funding the Assad regime and all the terrorism that comes out of there. Funding the Houthi-backed
rebels in Yemen, and et cetera, not to mention Hezbollah, Hamas, et cetera.
Now, obviously, there are accusations and counteraccusations. Is there any way to get beyond that, do you think? Can a new Rouhani government
actually sit down with the Saudi Arabians and the others in the Persian Gulf, or is there now this coalition against you and we're going to hear
this rhetoric, and maybe even worse? Do you think there'll be some military component to them facing off against Iran?
EBTEKAR: No, I don't think there will be any military component, although it is questionable why $100 billion of arms have been sold, and why Saudi
Arabia is spending its money on such military expenditures in the region, where countries should work together for peace and try to resolve existing
conflicts. Not through arms sales and buying arms, but through working through diplomacy, through improving relationships, through respecting the
rights of nations and people in Syria and Yemen.
I hope that they all realize the reality of what is going in Iran - what is going on in Iran. And the reality of the people, the mentality of the
Iranian people, and the fact that they support their government, they support their - the Islamic republic, and that Iran is a very strong and
democratic country. Very contrary to what goes on in Saudi Arabia, I think, and the President mentioned that as well today. That, I think, that
they haven't had elections since the time of their inception. They don't know, the people of Saudi Arabia don't know what an election looks like.
But we've had elections, practically, every year in Iran in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
AMANPOUR: I want to get back to the domestic situation inside Iran. The young people, certainly, told our reporters and producers when they were
there covering the election this past weekend, that they wanted to see President Rouhani really deliver on freedoms at home, not just the economic
promises. But he promised to free the jailed reform leaders. Will he actually do that now? He's been elected and re-elected.
EBTEKAR: We all know that the President has, of course, limited powers. He will do and he has made his attempts and he will do the best he can to
deliver on individual freedoms. His clear mandate on civil rights, and the fact that he's always pressed on these civil liberties, the fact that we've
seen a very significant growth both in the number but also in the activism of political parties in Iran. During the past three and a half years,
we've seen a surge in the number of non-governmental organizations in Iran. The civil society in Iran is now very vibrant, and I'm sure that the
President will continue on this line, and I'm sure that he will deliver on the promises that he's given during the Presidential campaign.
AMANPOUR: Vice President, Masoumeh Ebtekar, thanks for joining me from Tehran tonight.
EBTEKAR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Well, you just heard two very divergent views from Tehran and before that from Riyadh. And today, later in Jerusalem, President Trump
again criticized the nuclear deal with Iran. But he stopped short of repeating his campaign pledge to scrap it all together. And Vice President
Ebtekar told me, it was critical for all parties to abide by the agreement and to implement it. More women leading the way next; we imagine the first
Afghan news station by women and for women. Zan-TV is now open for show business, after this.
[14:27:01] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, 16 years ago before the Taliban fell in Afghanistan, girls over eight years old could not get an education.
Women could not get a job. And they could not leave their homes without a male relative. Well, imagine a world moving in fast forward, because
today, Afghanistan's women are out, working, and airing their views for all to hear. This weekend, Zan-TV hit the afghan airwaves with brand new
voices: female voices.
The first channel by women for women. In fact, "zan" means women, and the young team of 54 people powering the T.V. station is mostly female, and
many are students, presenting and producing a variety of shows while the men are working in more technical roles, but also, training women to fill
those positions, too. And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at amanpour.com and
follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.