Return to Transcripts main page


Iranians React to Trump's New Policy; British PM in Brussels for Emergency Brexit Talks; Women Cry Out "Me, Too, After Abuse Scandal aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 16, 2017 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:52] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: You have just been listening to President Trump at the White House talk about tax reform, his relationship

with Congress as he tries to pursue his domestic agenda.

Next, we dive in to reactions from his decision on the Iranian nuclear deal.

Tonight, the Iranian nuclear deal is not dead as Europe vows to stay in while President Trump threatens to pull out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We expect the deal to be preserved, continue to be implemented by all sides, and this is the strong European Union commitment.


AMANPOUR: We get reaction from Iran's vice president for economic affairs. Mohammad Nahavandian joins us live.

And as Brexit talks hit a brick wall, Britain's former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on why he wants to hold divorce cold off.

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

The EU is hitting back at Donald Trump and urging Congress not to re-impose sanctions on Iran. That after the U.S. president refused to recertify

Tehran's compliance with the nuclear deal.

Foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg tonight say the EU is determined to uphold the agreement, which was signed by major world powers back in 2015.

Otherwise, they say, there would be serious security consequences and increase risks of undermining efforts to deter North Korea's nuclear

weapons program.

The French President Emmanuel Macron made these views clear to his U.S. counterpart during a phone call this weekend.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): He wants to toughen up with Iran. That is what he declared on Friday. I told him that

it was, in my opinion, a bad way of doing things because we have to look at Korea. We broke off talks with Korea. What is the outcome? We are waking

up some years later with a Korea that is about to have a nuclear weapon.


AMANPOUR: Still today from the White House, President Trump doubled down.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll see what phase two is. Phase two might be positive and it might be very negative. It might be a

total termination. That's a very real possibility. Some would say that's a greater possibility. But it also could turn out to be very positive.

We'll see what happens.


AMANPOUR: So how is all of this confusion and uncertainty going down in Iran? Which, of course, eagerly sought a nuclear deal dividend.

Fred Pleitgen joins me from the capital there.

So, Fred, people, the parliament, the Majlis, what are you hearing about this now two days after the fact?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, you know, of course, Iranian politicians and generally the folks in the power structure here,

they are hearing exactly the same thing.

As you were saying there, right now as well, they see that the Europeans are still behind the nuclear agreement. They are saying they believe that

it's actually the U.S. that's isolating itself rather than Iran being isolated on the international stage.

Well, the other interesting things that they keep seeing as well. Look, even the IAEA not only says that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear

agreement, they also say it's the strictest of form to try and get initial verification at all in the world.

Now, if you talk to regular Iranians, they obviously had a lot of issues with some of the things that President Trump said. They are concerned

about the nuclear agreement. But one thing we found angered them more than anything else in President Trump's speech, and that was him referring to

the Arabian Gulf rather than the Persian Gulf.

Here's what people told us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Persian gulf is obviously Persian Gulf. You can't -- just because you don't like Iran or Iranian people or anything, you can

just can't say it's Arabian Gulf.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was just a little boy who wants to fight. But what's the problem? Why you want to fight?

[14:05:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): One of our rallying points for unity is the Persian Gulf, for us, which goes back 500 years.

By using the fake terminology of the Arab Gulf, he has made us more unified.


PLEITGEN: And, you know, Christiane, that was really just a small sample of the folks that we spoke to. Really everybody that we asked about this

nuclear agreement, everybody that we asked about President Trump's speech said first of all, everyone would say that it is Persian Gulf and it's

very, very important to the folks that we spoke to.

One other interesting thing, I think, is that some of the people were actually seem to be almost happy with President Trump's speech are some of

the hard-liners here in Iran.

We spoke to one of the advisers for the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and he told us he believed that President Trump actually unified

large parts of Iranian politics.

As you know, there were some very deep divisions here especially in the run up to the last presidential elections. But now they feel that really

politicians here including President Rouhani, the foreign minister Javad Zarif and a lot of the hardliners are at least united when it comes to

confronting President Trump in some of the things that he said in his speech, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Fred, thanks. And we're going to put that factor, the unifying factor to Mohammad Nahavandian, who is also in Tehran. He is the Iranian

Vice President for economic affairs and he was President Rouhani's chief- of-staff and he knows the president's thinking well.

We have a big delay with Tehran, but let me welcome you to the program, Mr. Nahavandian, and ask you, what next? What is Iran's strategy now to deal

with this situation?


I think Mr. Trump lost an opportunity as a new president to start a new constructive initiative towards Iran. He repeated a very negative rhetoric

against Iran and Iranian people, which has angered everybody. And all the hostilities of the past has come to the minds of people here starting from

CIA orchestrated coup against the legitimate government in Iran in 1953 to the support that U.S. government gave to Saddam during eight years of war.

This kind of language would not help, did not help, and his stands on nuclear deal opposed by all other parties in the agreement does not have

any chance of being supported by others.

AMANPOUR: So Mr. Nahavandian --

NAHAVANDIAN: The same day, France, Germany, UK -- yes?

AMANPOUR: No. Just to pursue that thought, you're right. All the other countries said that this deal is a multilateral deal and no one person can

break it.

But that means -- what doe that mean now for your government? What is your strategy with Europe? Are you sure that Europe will stand firm for this

agreement and it won't along with Russia and China seek -- you know, maybe come round to President Trump's view and open it up for renegotiation?

NAHAVANDIAN: Renegotiation is impossible, because no party, neither Iran, nor Europeans, China, Russia would not participate in any negotiation of


As long as all other parties are supporting it, if Iran sees that the benefit of this agreement is in place, it would along. But if the result

of the new American stance would be negating the effects of the agreement, then it would be up to Iran to rethink the position. So far with the

positions of other party --

AMANPOUR: I'm so sorry. We do have a big delay. I was just trying to jump in there when you paused a little bit.

When you talk about the benefits of the deal, presumably you mean the economic benefits that your people want and that your President Rouhani ran

on as a campaign winning strategy.

[14:10:00] So I guess, you know, how long are you prepared to give it?

Oh, have we lost you?

Can you hear me?

Mr. Nahavandian, can you hear me?

NAHAVANDIAN: Yes, now I hear you.

AMANPOUR: OK, maybe just hold that earpiece in your ear.

I guess, you know, just because it's a little bit difficult for you, I want to ask you, what effect did the president's crackdown -- President Trump's

crackdown on the revolutionary guard, the Iranian military have?

You know, clearly, President Rouhani has been trying to control some of their expansive policies.

What is the effect now?

NAHAVANDIAN: I think we have connection problem here.

AMANPOUR: Oh gosh. All right. Well, what's the effect of President Trump's speech against the revolutionary guard?

NAHAVANDIAN: I think the effect as your reporter reported from Tehran has been unifying all Iranians in solidarity, which has been expressed from all

different parts of Iranian politics has been to stand together. This kind of language of threat is not helpful. It is harmful.

AMANPOUR: Yes. Keep it in. Hold that in.

NAHAVANDIAN: I have connection problem.

AMANPOUR: You keep talking.

OK. Mr. Nahavandian, I'm going to ask you another question.

Can you hear me now?

NAHAVANDIAN: Yes, I do hear you now.

AMANPOUR: OK. So I want to ask you the following question. You've just said that Trump's views on the guard has had an opposite effect. It's

united people around the revolutionary guard.

I want to see if you can hear this bit of interview that Secretary of State Tillerson gave CNN over the weekend. Just listen and we can talk about it.


REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We want to take the agreement as it exists today, as I said, fully and force that agreement. Be very

demanding of Iran's compliance under the agreement, and then begin the process of addressing these flaws that we see around, not the absence of

addressing ballistic missiles for instance.

The concerns we have around the sunset provisions this phase out of the agreement.


AMANPOUR: Sir Nahavandian, did you hear that? He basically said they hope to be able to open up the agreement while staying in the current agreement

to bring up issues of your ballistic missiles or the sunset provisions on the nuclear deal.

Any chance of that being reopened?

NAHAVANDIAN: This agreement cannot be open again. Any other issues of interest must be discussed between countries, but the JCPOA is a done deal

and cannot be renegotiated.

The issues of missiles have not been part of JCPOA and cannot be construed as such. If there are any other concerns in international relations, in

regional issues as it has been the case, it can be a subject of negotiations between Iran and neighbors, Iran and European countries as it

has been before. And Iran has played the most significant role fighting against terrorism, against Daesh and that important role cannot be ignored.

AMANPOUR: OK. Mohammad Nahavandian, vice president for economic affairs, thank you for joining us from Tehran and we apologize for all these

communication technical difficulties.

Thanks very much for joining us.


[14:15:00] AMANPOUR: And when we come back, as the UK tries to jumpstart the league of Brexit talks, the former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg

joins me to discuss his new book, a manifesto, really, called "How to Stop Brexit and Make Britain Great Again." That's next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Austria is the latest European country to face the rising tide of white nationalism. The far right freedom party made strong gains in yesterday's

election following a similar pattern in France, Germany and Holland earlier this year.

Of course Brexit was exhibit A in this new populist pressure on Western democracies. Today, British Prime Minister Theresa May went to Brussels to

try to end the stalemate over the Brexit talks. While a core group here remains dedicated to halting a damaging Brexit fallout.

Among the loudest voices is the former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who joined me to talk about his new book "How to Stop Brexit and

Make Britain Great Again."


AMANPOUR: Nick Clegg, welcome to the program.

So the prime minister is heading off. You know, some people call it panicked trip to Europe to get them, you know, to play ball.

What do you think is happening right now? This whole re-emergence of a no deal kind of thing. You know, we need to get out, even if it's a no deal.

What does that mean even?

NICK CLEGG, FORMER BRITISH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Whilst the EU can be a little bit kind of rigid and procedural, and that's true, the onus of kind

of a responsibility for the talks not going anywhere lies heavily with the British government.

AMANPOUR: Many people saying no deal. It's just not an option. What would it mean for, I don't know, transport. What would it mean for flight?

What would it mean for anything that you do in a daily life?

CLEGG: I think it is impossible to exaggerate how much we would be in completely unknown territory if a mature, law-abiding major economy such as

the United Kingdom would simply to say to hell with the world.

AMANPOUR: They don't say that. They say WTO is just fine.

CLEGG: No, no, but that's a nonsense. Because they're able to throw an acronym at it, WTO, they think it sounds OK. It's not OK at all.

AMANPOUR: Because?

CLEGG: Because the WTO is just a very, very minimal set of standards about the tariffs, the levees, the taxes we apply to the goods and services

coming in and out of our country.

European Union membership is a completely different thing. It does indeed govern everything from the transport of nuclear material into the United

Kingdom, to how flights, airplanes land and don't land to all the rules and laws and regulations that govern almost every aspect of our lives. And

that's the dishonesty of this so called no deal, oh it's still OK, we can resort to WTO standards.

Because what it overlooks is that you're actually pitching the United Kingdom a mature, sophisticated economy into a legal black hole, into a

sort of legal tailspin, the likes of which I don think any developed economy has ever experienced in the post war period. It is a remarkably

irresponsible and reckless thing to do.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you something, because, clearly, obviously, we know your position, and your book says it, you know, "How to Stop Brexit and

Make Britain Great Again," which is hilarious, make Britain great again, nod to Donald Trump, I supposed. We'll talk about that in a moment. But I

do want to ask you this, because I find it troubling.

There has bee a steady drip, drip, drip of evidence that massive important number have been just mistakenly put out there. Whether it was the number

of immigrants that came in and didn't go back, hugely overstated.

Whether now the office of national statistics which is showing that Britain -- this is a front page on the conservative "Daily Telegraph.

Britain is 490 billion pounds poorer than had been assumed and no longer has any reserved of net foreign assets.

At this crucial juncture, I mean, what does that mean in terms of pounds and pennies for people?

[14:20:00] CLEGG: My view is that the story you just picked out today that the office of national statistics has done two things. Firstly, massively

recalculated and downgraded the assets. You know, what we own as a country. But, secondly, have revealed an absolute collapse in recent

months, weeks and months, particularly over this last summer in investment, foreign, direct investment coming to the United Kingdom.

My view is, and it's good that you picked I tout is the kind of thing I think when the history books are written, will be marked out as a really,

really significant moment. This is real decisions by real people simply saying you know what, we are not going to invest in the United Kingdom.

And the United Kingdom relied as an economy on foreign direct investment more than any other mature economy in the developed world. And we are

basically saying to investors in boardrooms in Tokyo, in Washington and elsewhere, you know what? We're so at sixes and sevens ourselves, you

shouldn't put our money here.

AMANPOUR: How do you make your case for, you know, to re-look and really take a serious look at whatever they come back with against the backdrop of

people calling you and people like you, what do they say, Ramonas --

CLEGG: Oh, sabotage.

AMANPOUR: Sabotage or anti-Democratic?

CLEGG: Well, no, because I think the most democratic thing -- by the way, I'm a politician, famously, who wasn't able to introduce one policy from my

manifesto in one policy area when I didn't even win.

These people have lied about every single aspect of public, British life. Every aspect. Industrial-scale fib it. And I think it's a matter of

democratic principle if you say, and you know, I took my punishment, you take it on the chin, if you say to millions of people, you will get this

paradise, this utopia. We will get the same benefits outside the single market as in it. This is what David Davis said. You'll get VIT card.

You'll have complete control over our borders.

Well, that's a laugh. Apparently now, it turns out, we are going to create a new border in an island, a new land border with the EU, which we won't


AMANPOUR: You have written that Brexit was driven by, quote, "A small, mostly elderly, mostly male collection of party donors, media barons,

obsessive newspaper editors and opportunist hedge fund managers largely would appear for their own ends. In other words, this you say has been

brought by the elite rather than something for the people, which it was touted as.

CLEGG: Well, clearly over 17 million people vote and I don't want to in any way denigrate the authenticity of that. But we shouldn't be naive.

There are some very powerful, unaccountable vested interest in parts of finance.

Some of the proprietors and the editors of our newspaper industry in this country, who are, as it so happens, generally, older men. Many of them who

don't live here or pay taxes here, who have got to complete (INAUDIBLE) and have done for years about the European Union. And they are all -- and this

is not me making this up -- they say this themselves, they are united by kind of small state, anti-regulation, anti-weld fast, low protection

ideology which has its echoes cause and the kind of tea party of the United States and so on.

And they hate the European Union, precisely because they want to turn the United Kingdom into a kind of Singapore on stilts with lower protections

for working people and so on.

Now there's no way they would ever win that if they were actually out in the open and stood for election themselves. So I think what they are

doing, which I really, really deplore, is they are using the Brexit movement and they funded it, organized it, propagandized it with newspapers

to push a vision, which the British people don't want.

They are using Brexit towards an ideological objective of kind of low regulation, low protection, kind of a cowboy economics, which the British

people don't want.

And that's why, yes, there was of course a lot of grassroots discontent manifests in that vote, but there's a lot of very rare, unaccountable

vested interests at play as well.

AMANPOUR: Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister, author of "How to Stop Brexit and Make Britain Great Again."

Thanks for joining us.

CLEGG: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And when we come back, imagine the world where even the worst kind of scandal can have a silver lining.

Women of the world unite today to say, "me, too" after the cascading sexual abuse charges against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

That's next.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, after the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal finally came out in public, many of the women who bravely step

forward to be heard are indeed seeing their voices echoed.

Imagine a whole world shattering a culture where silence with a golden handshake. Today, women all over the world, in many different professions

are rushing to a new community hashtag, "Me, too."

It was started by Alyssa Milano. The actress is both a co-worker of Weinstein's wife Georgina Chapman and a former colleague of Rose McGowan's,

one of the producer's most vocal accusers.

Milano wrote this on Twitter. "Suggested by a friend, if all the women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote, "Me, too," as a status, we

might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem." And then the hashtag quickly caught on with many prominent women sharing it on social

media. Spurring more and more and more women to sign on and to speak up.

So could this be a game-changer? Could the suffering now fully exposed of so many women in this particular profession kick-start transparency,


In all the other workplaces where this abuse is routine, only if it's a team effort, because behind every vocal woman, there must stand a good and

vocal man to hear her, to support her, to defend her and to speak out with her. Only together can we even start to see the beginning of an end to


And that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can listen to our podcast any time, see us online at and follow me on Facebook

and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.