Return to Transcripts main page


Terror Attacks in Iran; Interview with former CIA Director Michael Hayden; Security Dominates U.K. Election Campaigns; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired June 7, 2017 - 14:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: the recent worldwide terror spike comes to Tehran. At least 12 people are dead. ISIS claims

responsibility for twin suicide and shooting attacks. We talk to the Iranian ambassador to the United Kingdom.

And the former CIA director, he weighs in on the Comey show coming to Congress.

Also ahead, in this unprecedented climate, one of the most important elections in British history. That's tomorrow only not on the issue that

sparked this snap poll.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

terror comes to Tehran: 12 people are dead and more than 40 wounded after gunmen stormed two major landmarks in the Iranian capital, the parliament

building and the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic .

Officials say they foiled a third attack. ISIS quickly claimed responsibility, which, if true, makes this a first in Iran. terror attacks

in the country are already rare. There hasn't been one in seven years.

Now Hamid Baeidinejad is the Iranian ambassador to the U.K. and he joins me right now here in the studio.

Welcome to the program, Ambassador.


AMANPOUR: It's almost difficult to know where to start. Iran hasn't had this kind of terror and strikes your country today.

Do you think it was ISIS?

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): I am not sure to say that these attacks have not been occurred in Iran so recently because as you know we are have

witnessing recently attacks in the southern part, eastern part, somehow in the west, north part of the country by some groups like PJAK, for example.

But this incident, of course, was held in the center of Tehran, which was a very sad and tragic event. But we have been witnessing such terror

attacks, terrorist attacks in Iran.

AMANPOUR: It is quite incredible that a suicide bomber and a guy with a gun and a suicide bomb would get into the parliament, a heavily defended

place, and to get into the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini.

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): As you know, they have had intentions before and a number of occasions they have tried to incur into the Iranian

territory and our intelligence and police forces have been able to detect and identify and foil such operations.

But this time they gathered all their forces to be at the center of Tehran and also in the Khomeini's shrine.

AMANPOUR: Who do you think it is?

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): Of course, ISIS has claimed responsibility but we don't know that is it, in fact, verified or not. But

in fact, the nature of pattern of this attack was somehow different from some of the attacks by, for example, Jundallah, in the southern part --


AMANPOUR: Which is near the Balochistan (ph) area, a Sunni terrorist group.

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): Exactly.


BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): So, in fact, as I said, ISIS has claimed responsibility but we do not know yet.

AMANPOUR: You're the ambassador to the United Kingdom; you've seen what's happened here in this country in the last two weeks alone and in three

months we've had three terrorist attacks here.

And it is -- your reaction to that?

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): In fact, the common denominator is that these terrorist attacks are somehow blind attacks against the innocent

people; even in these two occasions in Tehran, like the ones in the United Kingdom, they have, in fact, attacked the innocent people. They have not

been able to incur into the parliament as such but in the buildings adjacent to the main building of the parliament.

They have attacked the innocent people. The people which have come to visit and see the deputies, different cities --

AMANPOUR: The constituents, you mean, ordinary residents who've come to see their MPs?

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): Exactly. So all of these people, the majority, like the ones in the U.K., have been the innocent peoples.

AMANPOUR: I guess the question is, what to do about it, particularly in your region, where, right now, you sit at the heart, at the target really,

of a rather intense sort of realignment or schism between big powers in the region.

Recently, just in the last 24 so hours, we've had Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf, Arab Emirates, basically isolating Qatar. And they say that it is

because Qatar has been too pro-Iran, too --


AMANPOUR: -- pro-terrorist, too pro-the Muslim Brotherhood.

Tell me your reaction to that.

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): Of course there are always narratives to the events. But we are not happy about these incidents; believe that, in

fact, if there are differences between the countries, particularly in the Persian Gulf, these differences should be pursued through legal -- through

dialogue and cooperation, rather than through a sanction or other violence measures.

So we believe that this is a very hectic time in the Middle East. We are facing the daish in Syria and Iraq. And this is a time that all countries

in the Persian Gulf should be cautious and really concentrate to resolve the differences through dialogue.

AMANPOUR: Well, there seems also to be a third party, if you like, maybe trying cause trouble. CNN broke the story that the Qatar situation was, in

fact, fake news planted by the Russians, that it was fake news about Qatar praising Iran and doing all sorts of things and that really irritated some

of the neighbors, which is -- then they took this action.

That's at least part of the reason.

Do you feel under pressure and concern, like many, many countries in Europe, the United States, about this hacking that can actually not just

interfere in elections, but cause diplomatic ruptures in the region, I mean, game-changing.

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): Yes. As you said, hacking is a -- is a new phenomenon that we are facing, all of us across the globe. And this is

a phenomenon that should be confronted in a united manner by all countries in the world.

But the reality is that these are the peoples who tried to misuse the opportunities and create problems for the countries and we believe that we

should be very cautious in fact not to entangle with issues that can exacerbate the situations further. And we should really contain the


AMANPOUR: Now there's a new American president, as you know, Donald Trump, who made a very high-profile visit to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. And the

idea is to have a bulwark against Iran in the region.

You've just had a conference here on the nuclear deal and been talking to Europeans as well.

What you see as the -- as the path forward?

Do you think the deal is under threat?

Do you think the United States might make it harder, might pull out, might put more sanctions on?

What are you seeing going forward?

BAEIDINEJAD (through translator): Of course against all the rhetorics so far, the implementation of the nuclear deal has been on the right track.

And the Trump administration has, in fact, extended the necessary waivers to seize the application of the sanction regulations.

But I should say that there are real concerns over the globe. There are concerns by different constituencies. There are different concerns among

the main players of the nuclear deal and really we hope that the administration, the U.S., will be cognizant about the negative consequences

of any action against implementation of the nuclear deal.

AMANPOUR: Ambassador, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.


AMANPOUR: Now of course the United States, the United Kingdom, many, many countries have condemned the attack in Iran today and sent condolences to

the victims there.

Here in London, and earlier in Manchester 30, people were killed over the last two weeks and scores injured. Even though one of the ringleaders was

intensely investigated by British counterterrorism officials and a second was flagged by Italian authorities. I sat down earlier with the former

director of the CIA and the NSA, General Michael Hayden, at the heart of U.S. national security under three past U.S. presidents.

I started by asking him the U.K. could miss these signals and what needs to change.


GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER DIR., CIA: This is a hard thing for someone from North America to comment on British society. Right now I can tell

you, British security services have a lot more headroom, working space, running room than American services do.

If we were to do in North America what is already being done here in the United Kingdom, we'd have some real serious debates with our Congress and

with civil libertarians.

So I just do not know. So let me answer this as an American --


AMANPOUR: This is almost the most surveiled city, country --


HAYDEN: -- CCTVs. All right. The British have the ability to detain people preemptively. The British have far more power to --


HAYDEN: -- collect metadata, both telephonic and digital than we have. And so they do have -- they do have tools and you can probably tell,

Christiane, I'm fairly comfortable with surveillance, given my life experience, all right.

I know the rules but I wrote a book called, "Playing to the Edge." So you can be very, very aggressive. These things are so hard to detect that I am

not sure that if you gave me a pound more surveillance I could give you an ounce more predictability in terms of this.

You know, we had the same experience in the United States. Several of our recent attackers were on the FBI radar. They were looked at by the bureau.

You know, I am open to the view that when the bureau looked at them, they were not the people they became.

So how do you do that?

AMANPOUR: So how do you do it?

You're the expert.


HAYDEN: -- free society.

AMANPOUR: How do you do it?

HAYDEN: It may come --


AMANPOUR: -- maintain a safe society.

HAYDEN: -- it may come to the point, Christiane, where you talk very, very candidly to the American people. All right. We're going to do everything

we can. We're going to have a debate about the definition of everything we can but we're all going to recognize we're going to -- we're going to not

do some things because of what it would do to us as a people.

And we are all collectively going to decide on accepting that degree of risk.

And look, this is from a guy whose life has been providing security.

AMANPOUR: It is an extraordinary time and right on the eve of an election.

Let's talk about your 2016 election and what do you expect to hear from James Comey in the testimony tomorrow, talking about Russia, collusion --


HAYDEN: -- $64,000 question. Everyone is speculating and let me begin by saying, I don't know. But then to speculate a little bit, based upon what

I know, the circumstances, and what I know about Director Comey.

Director Comey is incredibly honest. He is very hard-working. He is incredibly methodical. He writes stuff down.

All right?

And this is -- I know this because actually the director and I were different sides of an issue in 2004, when it came to American surveillance.

And I can tell you he knows his brief. He is very careful about it. And he documents what happens in meetings.

And so he is going to come at this series of questions with a bit of a database that he can draw on.

AMANPOUR: And the president, apparently, is going to be tweeting in real time.

What chaos, do you think, is going to be the fallout --


HAYDEN: I think just, look, that's the president's business. But if I were a presidential advisor, I would probably be making the comment that my

best advisors used to make to me when I was a director of something or other.

You sure you want to do that?

Because I don't know that -- why would the president get involved in point/counterpoint with someone testifying before --


AMANPOUR: And not just point/counterpoint but could it damage him?

Already this tweeting about the travel ban, admitting that it goes against the immigration law, in fact, that it is specifically a travel ban on

specific countries and people --

HAYDEN: I know, it's a remarkable series of tweets over the weekend and I can't imagine how the people who went out with the contrary argument on

behalf of the president felt at that time

It would not -- it would not, in my view, would not be a wise thing for the president to be the color commentator for Mr. Comey's testimony.

AMANPOUR: For his own legal health?

HAYDEN: Right.

AMANPOUR: And just on the foreign policy that is going on around the world, what about not telling friends you're standing with them, this whole

scoop that this deliberate line inserted in the NATO speech to commit again to Article 5 was deliberately taken out?

HAYDEN: Look, this may say more about my life experience than about the president's speech. All right?

But I was stunned; standing in front of a memorial to the World Trade Center, the only time NATO has invoked Article 5, that the President of the

United States could not say whatever European wanted, frankly, expected him to say, that if it comes to this, you can rest assured the American

performance in Article 5 will be as promised.

And the fact that he did not say that was just a great disappointment, and, you know, Christiane, you just go, why?

Why would you do that?

AMANPOUR: My question to you is what is going on in the White House?

HAYDEN: Well, it appears that there are a range of views on just about every topic inside the White House --


AMANPOUR: Is America a threat?

HAYDEN: Is America a --

AMANPOUR: A threat?

HAYDEN: -- a threat?

AMANPOUR: -- risk?

HAYDEN: I am uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable with many, some of the policies that we seem to be following. I am more uncomfortable with the

process or lack of process that seems to have foreshadowed, that led to those processes.

The president got really well deserved credit for the people he named in his national security team and now I do not envy the job of H.R. McMaster.

He is kind of the bridge between this really powerful team out here and kind of family and friends in the tight circle --


HAYDEN: -- around the president.

How can he ensure that these folks get inside that circle to have the appropriate influence on the president's decision-making?

AMANPOUR: Always fascinating. Great to hear your --

HAYDEN: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: -- perspective.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: General Hayden, thank you very much.

Tomorrow the U.K. goes to the polls to decide who will lead it through Brexit, the most consequential change since World War II. (INAUDIBLE)

overshadowed by terror and real questions about whether the major political leaders are up to it. We discuss -- next.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

It was supposed to be the Brexit election but with three terror attacks hitting this country in just three months, security has overshadowed the

last days of the campaign before voters head to the polls on Thursday.

Prime Minister Theresa May is under fire for suggesting that police could get broader powers, which could dilute human rights laws. Polls still have

her ahead of her Labour opponent Jeremy Corbyn, but not by the landside that had been predicted.

Joining me now to discuss this is "The Economist's" senior editor, Anne McElvoy.

How are you?


AMANPOUR: Good. And I want -- I'm so glad you're here because your newspaper, your magazine, did something unprecedented. For the first time

in the history of "The Economist," it didn't endorse one of the major parties -- well, one of the traditional parties that go into power, Labour

or Tory. You went for the Liberal Democrats.

MCELVOY: Yes, I'm not going to go back to the 19th century --


MCELVOY: But it is in a way, Christiane, there is a continuity to "The Economist," as well as interest innovation. And we simply felt that what

was on offer from the main parties didn't reflect liberalism (ph), a sort of cold (ph) liberalism. And I don't mean that necessarily mean what

people in America often think of that as a kind of code for slightly left of center people.

But we simply mean the idea of societies remaining open, free trading, anti-protectionism. And we felt these values were not there in the main

parties. We didn't really think the Liberal Democrats -- you know, you'll show on Friday, saying that, believe it, someone you've never heard of in

America is now running Prussian (ph). That isn't going to happen.

But we did feel that the fit of at least of a world view was closer to your.

AMANPOUR: It's pretty dramatic because these are the parties that have been in power one way or another for the last -- since we can remember.

And to say that liberal world order is not being taken care of by them --


AMANPOUR: -- as we see it is threatened by the United States and as we saw potentially some of the election candidates in Europe.

Where does Britain stand in this backlash?

MCELVOY: Well, that's a very good question. There's some people simply equate Brexit here with Donald Trump in America. Personally, I'm not in

that camp. I think there are lots of reasons to do with identities, some to do with the major failings of the European Union that drive -- bit of an

awkward squat anyway -- to sort of not take the box. (INAUDIBLE) we haven't had the terrible experiences directly on our territory of wars in


So we're a little bit different on Brexit. But what I think is true is that there is a mood of throwing out traditional values, throwing out

traditional parties. They meant to cope with some big economic factors, the disruptions, the falling real terms wages. Some of those things are

very like what you've seen in the U.S. and some have perhaps that European tinge of, well, we're a very old, very proud country, ad we don't really

feel that we get to speak clearly enough --


MCELVOY: -- or heard within the E.U.

These things are very difficult for the main parties unless they can make an impact in the United Nations. And they haven't.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's key because obviously in Europe, they're probably sitting kind of pretty at the moment. They had their threats. But the

Netherlands defied it; the French defied it and the Germans will probably defy it.

So they're sitting and thinking, hang on a second, we really came through for liberalism, for openness, for tolerance, for free trade, et cetera.

And our British cousins, they seem to be -- at least Theresa May -- rushing for the right flank, for the hard line, notably a hard Brexit.

MCELVOY: Well, yes, it'll of course take over because of --


AMANPOUR: -- hard Brexit.

MCELVOY: It is a hard Brexit. But I think she feels that her party and people who voted for it would not accept or suffer -- one can quibble with

that position.

Remember that she didn't vote for it herself. Some people say she sat on the fence, she swivvered (ph), as we say in Swinburne (ph), in my native

land. But she did swivver (ph) but she swivvered (ph) her way to be the prime minister's job. Now she has to deliver on it.

So the question that the electorate have to look at is not just, oh, there are lots of things that you think have been a bit wrong about the way

Britain has behaved.

But how do we get the best deal that we can get from here?

And I supposed that is the proposition that she has put out there in a way you don't have to like me. You don't even have to think I'm very good,

Theresa May is saying.

But do think that I can I sit eyeball-to-eyeball with Angela Merkel?

Are you going to trust our Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn?

AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, it's a good question because people, as I said, her lead has withered away. People, I suppose, predict that she'll win


But this whole strong and stable has gotten a little bit wobbly. There's been the U-turns (ph) and then of course, through no fault of her own,

whatever, she's under fire, though, but for all this terrorism.

MCELVOY: Still, I think she -- if anybody gains from this terrible situation it's probably Theresa May. She's a former home secretary. She's

a securocrat. She tends -- she has tended to be sort of on the tougher side of that argument about the incursion of the state into the private

sphere, to protect against terrorism.

And I think a lot of people -- they don't like the sound of it but there is a difference between liking the sound of it and what risks they will take

in the ballot box.

My prediction is that we will see a lot of shy Tories. They don't want to tell the kids who are coming home from college what they're going to do.

But they may in fact, be more prepared to vote Conservative and security will certainly be an issue there.

AMANPOUR: And one last on Brexit, I mean it's been written quite clearly that actually there is not one single suggestion of what anybody promises

over Brexit. We don't know what any deal's going to look like, not just a bad deal, any deal. There's literally no specifics.

I mean, it is pretty extraordinary that the people are going to the polls with no idea of what is going to happen 11 days later, when they saw


MCELVOY: It's very interesting as you say, I think at the top of the show that this set out to be the Brexit elections, partly through no fault of

the competence and partly because they didn't perhaps have a lot of details to share.

It hasn't been. It's a comparison of types and styles of leaders, really what "The Economist" is saying we weren't happy with. We want it all, a

lot more discussion among the fundamentals.

My view really is that Theresa May will start, if she gets a decent working majority, with a blank sheet. She will go into it. She will have to look

at whether she's prepared to go out of a formal deal with the E.U. I think that is very possible. In that case, I think the risk factor then begins

all over again. And people ask, was it worth it?

AMANPOUR: Well, yes, and just as one last sort of atmospherics, everybody's sort of consigned Jeremy Corbyn to the eternal failure. And

yet, he's the one who's captured the imagination of the electorate, whether he wins or not, the big rallies, people who are coming out and talking

about -- I mean, he's had a surprise good campaign.

MCELVOY: Yes, he had a good campaign. Of course, we must never forget -- and look at Bernie Sanders' mistake, the campaigns tend to be good, whether

the ideas stack up, meh, different matter.

But it must be said, he got a vote in the process than Bernie Sanders did. It a famed kind of reaction. He has brought energy out there. I would

guess he will enthuse a lot of people who are already in Labour seats.

I am not seeing a lot of Tories thinks, you know what, I'm going to suddenly go Left. But I think what he will do is hold onto the leadership

of the Labour Party that, again, causes another problem for the moderate center.

AMANPOUR: Does it put maybe a little bit more pressure on whoever is the next prime minister --


MCELVOY: I doubt it.

AMANPOUR: -- to moderate Brexit?

MCELVOY: No, no, because, unfortunately, he comes to the other -- and, anyway, he's not really a convinced Remainer. He comes from that bit of

the old Marxist world, he doesn't like the E.U. anyway.

We're always liberals.

AMANPOUR: Anne McElvoy, senior editor at "The Economist," thank you so much.

And of course to the victor go the spoils on Friday morning. But to the loser, a place in Sweden's hottest new exhibit. That could await. We pay

a visit to the Museum of Failure -- next.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, on the eve of the U.K. election, a reminder that behind every victory lies a mortifying failure. But imagine a world

of silver linings. Sweden has a new Museum of Failure. It opened today, devoted to silver linings, aiming to provide insight into the risky

business of innovation.

For instance, products that did not take off find a way to this museum as part of the vital work of experimentation which sometimes might pave the

way for great success, like this bulky Apple product, the Newton. It was soon canceled but it opened the door to the iPhones that we use today.

Other exhibits are less revolutionary. For instance, the infamous Bics for Her pens, which were pilloried for the demeaning idea that women need pens

made for girls -- and colored pink, to boot.

And there's Trump: The Game, an `80s board game that tanked; however it's become a bit of a collector's item now in the world of Trump, the

president. Meanwhile, it looks like the museum won't become a monument to its own failure. The curator tells us today that a visitor flew all the

way from China just to tour the exhibit on its first hectic day.

That is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always listen to our podcast, see us online anytime at and follow me on Facebook

and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.