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EU Foreign Policy Chief: "Iran Deal is Working"; U.N. Power Women Steering the World; Africa's First Female President Stepping Down

Aired September 21, 2017 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight from the United Nations in New York. Our all-female lineup of leaders taking on the world's big


The EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini on holding the Iran nuclear deal together.

The Chilean President Michelle Bachelet tells me that her country is part of a new road map to try to end Venezuela's political crisis.

And Africa's first female Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia on empowering the female leaders of the future.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour at the United Nations in New York.

All week, world leaders have been coming together behind these four walls to try to resolve the world's biggest problems staring at them. From down

the barrel, the most severe nuclear threat in decades coming from North Korea.

But as the solutions struggles to find its way out on to the negotiating table, a real nuclear security deal is under dire threat. The one the U.S.

and world powers signed with Iran two years ago. These then were the words of hope spoken by then President Barack Obama and president of Iran Hassan

Rouhani about the deal shortly after it was sign in 2015.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if this deal is fully implemented, the prohibition on nuclear weapons is strengthened, a

potential war is averted. Our world is safer. That is the strength of the international system when it works the way it should.

HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The nuclear deal which is a brilliant example of victory over war has managed to disperse

the clouds of hostility and perhaps even the specter of another war and extensive tensions from the Middle East.


AMANPOUR: That was then. Today, two years and one U.S. president later, the future of that deal is uncertain.

Amidst speculation about whether President Trump will follow through on his promise to rip it up.

Let's speak now to one of the key figures of the agreement. The EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini who convened an important meeting here amongst

its signatories just now, just recently.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program.

MOGHERINI: Thank you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: So is it under threat?

MOGHERINI: It's an international deal. It's a U.N. Security Council Resolution so it is not in the hands of one of the parties. It's belonging

to the entire international community and as Europeans we'll make sure it stays.

AMANPOUR: So what do you expect and have you heard from President Trump about what he plans to do? He has said he has made up his mind.

MOGHERINI: He said he's made up his mind. I hope there is thankful thinking, because we have put in place a nuclear deal that is only tackling

the nuclear issues with Iran. There are many other things to discuss, but the nuclear deal is working.

We already have one nuclear crisis down to the east in North Korea. We have one nuclear deal that is working. We don't need to dismantle what is

working. We need to improve the global nonproliferation system. Not to dismantle what is working. One crisis -- one nuclear crisis is already


AMANPOUR: Enough at one time. But let me ask you this, because we are hearing that the president, his people think that they can reopen it.

Essentially have their cake and eat it, too.

Keep the deal, but reopen it and toughen it up. And maybe bring other elements of problems that the United States has with Iran into it.

Is that possible?

The deal is a nuclear deal, which means that it's made and 104 pages negotiated for 12 years intensely. That covers all aspects of a nuclear

program. Everything else is outside of the scope of the deal can be tackled and should be tackled, but not in the nuclear deal itself.

AMANPOUR: A separate deal entirely.

MOGHERINI: It could be. But then it's not the nuclear one. The nuclear deal is working. Everybody is certifying it. The IA has certified eight

times. Last time, ten days ago, that Iran is complying with all its nuclear commitments. What is working should not be dismantled.

AMANPOUR: Let's break down what the U.S. administration is saying.

Last night here in New York, Secretary of State Tillerson described what they thought this deal was about. That, yes, it was a nuclear deal, but

surely it would have changed Iran's behavior. They were talking about it more in terms of a political promise, a realignment of Iran's behavior.

Let's just listen and then we'll have you talk about it.


REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Since the agreement was confirmed, we have seen anything but a more peaceful stable region. That's why we

talked about Iran defaulting on these expectations because those expectations clearly have not been met.


[14:05:00] AMANPOUR: So he's talking about expectations, which they had about Iran's other behavior.

Was that ever part of this deal?

MOGHERINI: No, the deal is very detailed and it's a nuclear deal. I insist on this. There were maybe surrounding expectation, an anticipation

of the fact that that deal could have been the basis for a different kind of relationship. A different kind of bilateral relationship between Iran

and the United States maybe, but politics has taken another course. Political choices have been made.

The crisis in Syria is still on going. The situation around the gulf is indeed very tense. Things have not moved in that direction. But the

nuclear deal is holding, is working, is delivering and again I say it would be irresponsible in the world of today dismantle a piece of nuclear non-

proliferation system that is actually working in the moment when we should actually try to put something similar in place elsewhere in the world.

AMANPOUR: And of course for North Korea, you know, there has been no -- there's been no similar work on a North Korea deal. But let me ask you

this before we get to North Korea.

You know, everybody is talking about the so-called sunset clause 2025 that governs this nuclear deal. Even President Macron, the new president of

France, said, yes, we don't want to rip up this deal, but, yes, we want to talk about what happens after 2025.

Walk us through what that would look like and is that a reason to open this nuclear deal?

MOGHERINI: The timing of the deal is very clear and that's been negotiated for long weeks and months and nights.

The commitment that Iran has taken with the deal, written black and white, is that it will never develop a military nuclear program. Iran as a non-

nuclear power, as a non-proliferation treaty member will never develop an atomic bomb. That is written in the agreement.

Then there are certain provisions of the agreement that lasts for some time. Others that last for longer and others that last forever.

So the time issue is part of the deal. Has been negotiated and is going to be effective. And, again, we face so much skepticism from the beginning.

People that would say we would never do it. People that will say that after signing would have never been started or never been implemented.

Now it's two years from them. It has worked. It's continued to work. Iran is continuing to say they are committed to keep their obligations.

It's certified. The rest of the international community, Europe, first of all. Russia, china. Others in the world.

The United Nations system are saying don't dismantle part of what is precious.


MOGHERINI: A non-proliferation regime. That as I said we would need to strengthen and enlarge, not to dismantle.

AMANPOUR: Well, then let me ask you, if President Trump decides to keep his election promise and divert from this deal or move away from this deal

in some form or fashion, what does that mean in real nuts and bolts for the future of this deal?

MOGHERINI: The deal doesn't belong to the United States.

AMANPOUR: But what would the Iranians do? They've already threatened that they would take action.

MOGHERINI: We have a system in the agreement itself that in case of breaches of the agreement, the six -- Germany, France, UK, China, Russia

and the United States within, under my leadership, convene and solve the problems.

We have a system that foresees one month more or less to do that. And that would be a sort of political mechanism to find a way out of such a breach.

But it would constitute a breach of the agreement. Not a stepping out of the agreement. Nor an attempt to renegotiate, because as I said it's not a

treaty. It's not a bilateral agreement. It's a U.N. Security Council resolution the United States would be breaching.

AMANPOUR: I can hear your message loud and clear to the United States on this. But let me ask you about North Korea.

"A," what would happen if this was breached by the United States. What message would that send to North Korea or any other proliferating state?

And what are you doing in the U.N. to make it tougher for North Korea to act out as nuclear ambitions now?

MOGHERINI: In the European Union, we have immediately implemented all the sanctions decided by the U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea.

It's the country against, which we have the toughest sanction in the European Union.

AMANPOUR: But still not as tough as you did against Iran.

MOGHERINI: Yes, it is.


MOGHERINI: Very tough. And not only that. We have decided to include tougher sanctions, autonomous European Union sanctions. We started this

process since a couple of weeks now. So we are about to finish the decision. On this, probably, we are more in line with President Trump.

For us, the sanctions are a way to open the political path to negotiations. For us, it's clear. It's the political mediated process that can lead to


[14:10:00] Obviously, the credibility of a negotiation is rooted in the credibility of the agreements that we're negotiated already.

The basic principle for any negotiating power is that if you engage in an agreement, no matter what kind of administration comes afterwards, you

negotiate with the state, not with one person or one administration.

So in Latin we say, "pacta sunt servanda," "agreements need to be honored."

AMANPOUR: Well, we'll see.

Federica Mogherini, Thank you very much indeed for joining us. The EU's foreign policy chief.

And from one woman leading the charge to another.

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet joins me after a break with news of a breakthrough in Venezuela's political crisis. And she says there is no

space anymore for deniers on climate change.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

South America has seen something of a boom and bust when it comes to women leaders. Not so long ago, the leaders of Chile, Brazil and Argentina were

all women. Now, only Chilean President Michelle Bachelet remains and she was there at the start, with her first election in 2006.

And as her second presidency comes to an end in March, 2018, she is determined to go out with a bang, pushing through a law giving women rights

over their own body and sending a bill to congress to legal gay marriage and adoption.

Here at the U.N., she's taking the United States to task on climate change and she reveals news about a new roadmap out of the crisis in Venezuela.

She joined me to talk about all of that a little earlier.


AMANPOUR: Madam President, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: I want to talk to you about the fact that when you step down, when your term is over, there will be no female leader on the entire

continent of the Americas.

What does that say to you?

BACHELET: Well, it says that, in some way, we are not being able to maintain enough female leaders at the political level and that we should

continue working very strongly so we can have more women. Not all of them have to be president. Maybe, you don't need to be -- have always female


AMANPOUR: No, of course not.

BACHELET: But at least that everybody has the possibility if they really wanted to, if they are competent enough, because I know many female leaders

are very competent.

AMANPOUR: What do you say...

BACHELET: So we need to work harder.

AMANPOUR: And what do you think are the endemic, structural obstacles to that?

And, at the same time, what difference does a female leader make in the areas of global war and peace, development, health, the economy?

BACHELET: Well, I think women can play a very substantial role in all the areas you have mentioned. And I have seen it as president (INAUDIBLE), but

also when I worked at the U.N. and U.N. women. They are very important, for example, peacekeepers. You know, they can relate to communities in a

very different way and they can even, you know, make a very important contribution to it.

Also, not only as to the war, but during negotiations, because they are very good negotiators.

I think females can bring, also, a lot of issues to the discussion that sometimes male partners don't give the same importance. For example, in my

country, it has been very important for little children, the possibility of being in child care centers. And that will bring them the possibility, for

example, to sort of, you know, diminish the inequalities, to give them a better playing field.

AMANPOUR: Now, in general, as you've cast your gaze wider -- and here we are at the United Nations -- what do you say in the midst of all these

natural climate and other disasters, to the prevailing trend from the president of the United States to pull out of this climate deal?

BACHELET: Well, first of all, I have to say that I believe that climate change is a reality. It's not something that somebody invented. And we

have visited with -- I mean you don't know sometimes when science contributes, everything can be, you know, mentioned as the climate change

to be the roots of it. But it's very strange.

At least you can say every new disaster is stronger. At least you can say that. But, also, if I may say, we have seen, for example, we had the worst

forest fire in our life, spanned a huge, you know, drops, flooding. I mean, of course, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis.

And we see that. And we see it everywhere. And this is important itself, but it is also producing security issues, because you see that many of the

migrations, some of them are because they are armed conflicts.

But many of them, because, you know, of the hunger that they are leaving, because of the lack of water or the lack of food.

So it is -- and you say all these migrants that go to the -- first of all, if I may say, that it's because we're not, you know, solving the root

problems, the structural problems that are producing that migration.

So I believe that, unfortunately, the majority of the countries, and the majority of the leaders of the world, will continue with our commitment in

terms of the Paris agreement, in terms of a little j a lot of other conventions. And it has been a very important issue in this general


AMANPOUR: And to move specifically to your continent, obviously, we see right now Venezuela in crisis, not just political crisis, but economic,

obviously, and a health crisis.

You heard the president of the United States suggest that the U.S. may intervene to restore democracy. And I believe you've just spoken to the

vice president.

What do you say about what your fellow president, Maduro, is doing to an important country on your continent and what should the U.S. do about it?

BACHELET: Well, first of all, we have some news that are possibly good news that in the Dominican Republican has been negotiations between the

parties. And they have established a road map that will continue next week.

They have decided four countries should accompany this process. And the four countries are Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

So we will be there like guarantors of these talks between opposition and the government.

AMANPOUR: That's a major development.

BACHELET: It's a talk. We don't know if it will succeed, but at least I think it will...

AMANPOUR: And President Maduro...


AMANPOUR: -- is on board?

BACHELET: Yes, he's on board.

AMANPOUR: And the main opposition is on board?

BACHELET: Of course. And yesterday, we received a letter of President Maduro that the foreign minister first give it to me, asking us to be part

of this process.

So I think it's something -- it's a very important moment and we hope this leads to, first of all, a dialogue between the parties. And I hope to some

concrete steps.

And we are saying in order to be successful, we need to have a credible dialogue and a credible negotiation.

AMANPOUR: So there's a road map with an end goal.

What is the end goal?

BACHELET: Well, the end goal -- I mean one of the goals is that there will be an election next year. So how -- there will be a road map in terms of

how we start these negotiations and then that negotiation will define the exact road map in terms of all the different aspects that have been --

that's been discussed.

AMANPOUR: All right.

That is positive news, indeed.

BACHELET: So we are in a positive news moment and we hope that we'll introduce, in a good agreement, and we, of course, also we -- all the

countries of Latin America that we want to support, we know that this is an issue that the Venezuelans have to solve, because we believe in



BACHELET: We do not believe that military actions are the ones who will bring, you know, peace and stability.

But now we have good news and we hope it works.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's a good note to end on.

President Bachelet, thank you so much.

BACHELET: Thank you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: And good luck in your post-presidency days.

BACHELET: Thank you so much.


AMANPOUR: And indeed, there is a mantra going around here that the more women in power, the more peace around the world.


AMANPOUR: And indeed, there is a mantra going around here that the more women in power, the more peace around the world.

So next we imagine losing yet another global peacemaker. The outgoing Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.


[14:21:45] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

So Latin America is about to lose its last-standing female president and next Africa as well.

Its first female president is stepping down after 12 years in power. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf broke the mold in Liberia, paving the way

for future female leaders on the continent and I spoke to her about the legacy she leaves behind and the challenges that remain ahead.


AMANPOUR: Madam President, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: You're in your final days as the first female president of an African country. When you step down, there won't be any more. What does

that say to you?

SIRLEAF: It tells me that we haven't work hard enough for parity particularly in political participation. It saddens me to a certain

extent. Because I represented breaking the glass ceiling in Africa. And I didn't hear lots of women out there haven't quite reach there, but the cue

is forming.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And you've been president for 12 years. 2005, you became president. It didn't happen. There weren't more female leaders.

But what do you think your femininity, your gender brought to this, to this particular position if anything?

SIRLEAF: It brought great aspirations to women and to girls. Today in Liberia and in Africa, and I tell you going beyond that, my travels in the

United States and Europe and other places. Inevitably. There's someone who comes up to me and say you've inspired me.

AMANPOUR: I just want to start out by reminding everybody of how you came to power. It was after a terrible war in Liberia. There were warlords.

And it was after this wonderful sort of grassroots action by a lot of Liberian women who said enough already. Enough of war.

SIRLEAF: At this stage the women decided men have ruled this country for all these years, from the founding, from the formation. 1847 when we

became an independent nation. And look what this brought us -- war, death, destruction. It's time we try something different. And they did

everything they could.

They went from door-to-door, they mobilized, they signed petition, they gathered themselves in meetings and more importantly they voted in mass.

AMANPOUR: And there's been a wonderful book written about you in which it describes the election process. That women, you know, basically took the

I.D. cards from their sons, their husbands who may have voted for the male candidates who were standing against you and then made sure that you were

going to get the vote.

SIRLEAF: We can't live that story down. But it's true.


But, you know, when they decided something had to be done and it was non- conventional, it was non-conventional. And I think, I think today as they reflect upon what they did, I think they are very happy.

It may not have been the morally right thing to do, but it was the right thing to do to get -- to get the result we wanted.

AMANPOUR: It really is a fairy tale story. But I know Liberia is not a fairytale. I believe 64 percent of your people still live under the

poverty line. There is still, you know, endemic issues, corruption and you went through the terrible Ebola crisis.

Give us an idea of the challenges that you faced and what's still remains to be done?

SIRLEAF: You know I like to always take it back to where we started. We inherited in 2006 a destroyed nation, a parlous state and we felt we

brought it to the place where we restored basic services that had been missing for over two decades. In short, we brought Liberia back. Back to

becoming a nation again. A viable nation.

AMANPOUR: That's no mean feat. And you have obviously decided to stick to your constitution and not run again for a third term. This is the


What are you saying by doing that? Because there are plenty of African leaders who are just, you know, dictators for life, presidents for life.

SIRLEAF: I'm sending a strong signal. Not only should we respect the constitution and the law, but it also says that it's time for generational


That we have young people that are vying for leadership. That have the capacity. That have the compassion and the capability. And it's time for

them to take over. And we have to make way for them.

And if we are going to practice democracy, which we all want to do, and we all strive to do, then we've got to do it by example.

AMANPOUR: Did you ever say anything to your counterparts like President Mugabe or even President Kagame and the president of Equatorial Guinea.

SIRLEAF: In a joking way.

AMANPOUR: What did you say?

SIRLEAF: You know, as many have said, how long are you going to keep this presidency?


Did they take you seriously?

SIRLEAF: No, I mean, the answer is you know, well, I'm there. And it's just always a joking thing. But the message gets through in all of the

statements that are made, in all of our meetings, that we must respect the constitution. We have to set the example. And I think if you look at

Iran, you'd see that things have changed considerably.

AMANPOUR: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, thank you so much indeed for giving us this exit interview.

SIRLEAF: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And the election in Liberia is in just over two week's time. And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to

our podcast, watch us online and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from New York.