Return to Transcripts main page
Discussion of Iran Nuclear Deal; Interview with DRC Presidential Candidate. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired May 1, 2018 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Iran hits back at Israel's claims about it's nuclear weapons program, while the U.K. and
France say Israel actually demonstrated why the Iran deal is still so vital.
Gary Samore, the former top Arms Control Official in the Clinton and Obama administrations, joins me from Harvard University.
Plus, the child labor that powers our electric cars, smartphones and laptops, as CNN discovers small children mining for cobalt in the
Democratic Republic of Congo I speak to a position figure, Moise Katumbi, he's trying to stop his countries downward spiral.
Good evening everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Nothing new, that is what the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says
about the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu's self described blockbuster revelations on Iran.
In fact, as both Netanyahu and the U.N.'s seem to agree, the documents only concern Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons a decade and a half ago.
The IAEA says that Iran is in full compliance with the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.
Iran called Netanyahu's presentation childish and laughable. Still, the White House managed to put out a statement yesterday saying that Iran has a
nuclear weapons program, only later did they correct the statement claiming a typo to saying that Iran had such a program, past tense.
Netanyahu's foray comes at a critical time of course, because just two weeks before Trump will decide whether the U.S. will stay in the deal. To
separate truth from fiction, I am joined by Gary Samore.
He was the top White House official on Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction under President Obama and he joins me now from Harvard
University. Moreover of course, you, Gary Samore, started out very skeptical of the actual Iran deal. So, let me first ask you -- welcome to
the program, what did you make of the whys and the where for's of Prime Minister Netanyahu's show and tell on television last night?
GARY SAMORE, FORMER ARMS CONTROL OFFICIAL: Well, it's good to be here Christiane. Of course, I haven't looked at the new documents myself, but
based on Prime Minister Netanyahu's presentation, it seems like they provide additional detail on the nuclear weapons programs as it existed
But as far as I could tell, the archives don't seem to contain any additional information about current activities and in particular nuclear
weapons activities that might have taken place after 2015 when the nuclear agreement was completed.
AMANPOUR: So Benjamin Netanyahu's main sort of thrust was that in his words, Iran has been brazenly lying, they never fessed up a nuclear weapons
program and they've just been lying and therefore this whole deal is based on smoke and mirrors and a pack of lies.
How would you pass that?
SAMORE: Well, it is true that the official Iranian government line is that they never had a nuclear weapons program. That obviously is false, they
did have a nuclear weapons program before 2003 when it was suspended, and of course the concern is that in some time in the future they will decide
to resume a nuclear weapons effort.
And under the nuclear deal, Iran is not required to completely admit their previous activities. That was one of the concessions that the U.S. and the
other P5+1 countries made in order to get such an agreement.
So, I think the presence of these documents reminds us that even though the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, the JCPOA, even though it constrains
Iran's nuclear program for 10 or 15 years, it doesn't resolve the problem, because we may still have a concern in the future that Iran will decide to
pursue nuclear weapons.
Of course we can't -- I can't predict what the world or Iran will look like in 10 or 15 years, but we should understand that the JCPOA is basically a
way to postpone the issue, not to resolve it.
AMANPOUR: Except for the preamble in the first paragraphs, have Iran pledging never to seek a nuclear weapons program or nuclear weapon.
SAMORE: Well of course Iran has already pledged that under the NPT, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they violated that pledge when they secretly
started a nuclear weapons program.
So in the case of Iran, the concern is that their commitments, their verbal commitments can't be relied on. And that's why the JCPOA includes some
very substantial physical constraints on Iran's ability to produce this material.
And the problem of course as President Trump and others have pointed out, is that those physical constraints begin to be lifted after ten years, so
I think that's still a long way in the future, no reason to abandon the nuclear agreement now, but it is an issue that we may have to face in the
future unless President Trump walks away from the deal on May 12th, which unfortunately I think is quite likely.
AMANPOUR: OK, so what exactly will that mean, because this now comes at a very crucial moment? And you have just raised the issue of the Sunset
Clauses. And I did say that you were a skeptic, you're a well known skeptic of a negotiated deal with Iran on this issue.
And then you turned around and you accepted it and you were for it than you had anticipated. Tell us why, since you are such an expert, technical
expert, arms control expert. You've been working this issue practically your whole life. People need to know, what's in it that's worth it.
SAMORE: So right now, two years into the agreement, it's working in terms that Iran is complying with the physical limits on its nuclear program.
That means a smaller number of centrifuges, smaller stock pile of low and rich uranium, a dismantlement of the reactor they were building that could
have produced plutonium.
So in terms of keeping Iran away from a practical option to produce nuclear weapons, the agreement is working, it's achieving it's primary objective.
And if Iran continues to comply, those constraints will be I place for the next eight years.
Giving us time to work on the problem as well as deal with other aspects of Iran's behavior that we object to whether it's ballistic missile activity,
or support for Hezbollah or so forth.
The risk I think is that if be abandon the agreement, we will cause a conflict with the Europeans who wish to keep the agreement in place. And
that will jeopardize our ability to work with Europe on these other problems.
So it would be one thing if you could leave the deal and then be in a stronger position to negotiate a better agreement, but I think that's
unlikely. I think if we leave the deal, we'll actually reduce our leverage.
Now President Trump, I think they have a different assessment. I think he - his style is be disrupted, unconventional, to go against the convention
wisdom. And I think his instinct will be to break the deal and then hope somehow out of the pieces, he can resurrect stronger bargaining leverage to
get a better agreement--
AMANPOUR: OK, so-
SAMORE: I don't see that happening.
AMANPOUR: You don't see that happening. And I actually would like to go through a few issues. Let us just say that somebody out there in good
faith wanted to convince the president that he may want to do something bigger and better.
But that perhaps right now, there is no such thing as perfect and good is good enough for now. And I want to pass these examples by you. First ad
foremost back in 2002, when he was former prim minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he was on Congress.
In the midst of the big debate about the was potentially in Iraq, which was based around the theory by the Bush administration that they had weapons of
This is what Netanyahu told Congress, there is no question whatsoever that Sudan is seeking, is working, is advancing towards the development of
nuclear weapons. If you take out Sudan, Sudan's regime, I guarantee you that we will have enormous - that it will have enormous positive
reverberations on the region.
Well, I mean clearly that wasn't the case. And the administration was egged on to war. So just take that and describe the danger of this kind of
(inaudible) beating in attempt to influence as well as inform us former CIA director Michael Hayden said about Netanyahu's presentation.
SAMORE: So, if President Trump decides to withdrawal the United States from the nuclear agreement on May 12th, the big question will be how does
Iran react? And I've heard different things from Iran officials.
One option would be to go to the commission that's been established by the agreement and complain that the U.S. has abrogated the agreement which
would clearly be the case.
And seek a commitment from the Europeans and the other parties, Russia and China to try to keep the deal in place, absent U.S, participation. But
that will be very difficult to do because U.S. secondary sanctions will discourage European companies from doing business in Iran.
Another option is for Tehran to withdrawal from the agreement, citing the fact that the U.S. has abrogated the deal first. And then Iran would be
free to revive its nuclear program, which is currently as I said under constraint.
And the third option, which some Iranians have talked about, would be to leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether. Which would mean that Iran
has no international inspection and no constraints whatsoever in terms of its nuclear weapon. I think the risk-
AMANPOUR: So sorry to interrupt sir, surely that is where - that is where North Korea is today, precisely because yet another president, George W.
Bush, thought that he could get a better nuclear agreement.
And Clinton had negotiated; I think you may have been part of it, and dumped out of that agreement and the result was a direct line to nuclear
weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
They did all the things you say, got out of the NPT, threw out the IAEA, no verifiable inspections. And we're at that place today, so again, this is a
very crucial moment to be making these decisions.
SAMORE: I mean, I think the likely scenario is Iran begins to pursue nuclear weapons would be a U.S. and or Israeli military attack against
Iran. And I think some people, perhaps even Prime Minister Netanyahu, hopes that a U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA will provoke Iran to take
actions that would trigger an American military attack.
I'm not sure that's what President Trump has in mind. I think his instinct is more to create a disruptive circumstance in which he can try to come up
with a bigger and better deal. But for some people, I think the hope is that it will lead to war.
AMANPOUR: All right. Gary Samore, thank you so much for your insight. Really very tense times right now.
And from this row over nuclear power to a row over clean power. More and more of us are choosing to go green to tackle climate change and help save
Electric cars are driving that revolution. But as CNN has uncovered, a dirty secret lies within, a secret of child labor and some of the batteries
that power these devices.
And it is not just car batteries, but computer and smart phone batteries too. They're manufactured using a mineral called cobalt. Half of the
world's cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is at the heart of the African continent.
And demand is rising all over the world. Not only that, Congo sits on sum $24 trillion worth of cobalt and other minerals, and this fuels the vicious
civil wars that obtain millions of lives and destabilized the whole region.
CNN's Nima Elbagir, Dominique van Heerden and Alex Platt traveled to Kolwezi in the DRC, which is the epicenter of a modern day cobalt gold
rush. And what they found was alarming.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNNI (voice-over): Christian and his friends are digging 20 meters down, taking turns at 24 hour shifts. There's no light, and little
oxygen, but what they bring up is precious. This is the start of a supply chain leading all the way from this makeshift mine to your luxury battery
The sacks are full of cobalt ore, a crucial component in lithium iron batteries set to power the coming green energy revolution, but at what
There is growing evidence that the cobalt supply chain uses child labor. Companies say they are working to hard to verify the source of all their
hand-mined artisanal cobalt, that it's a difficult time.
We're here to follow the supply chain and see if we can do it for them. Before we set out, even the local governor warns us to expect to se
children at work.
We arrive at the Musonoi river mine, where the cobalt ore is washed to grind it down. Although we've been giving permission to film here, as soon
as they see us, officials begin to scare the children away. Not all of them, though, are fast enough.
Some work on. One young buy staggers under his load. His friend sees the camera and he drops his sack -- they've clearly been warned. The mining
ministry official spots this boy carrying cobalt has been captured by our cameras. His response is brutal. Later we ask him why he struck the
child, he refused to answer.
ELBAGIR: We have now witnessed for ourselves that children are working here, that they are involved with the production of cobalt. And we've seen
the product of that child have unloaded on to a variety of different vehicles.
I'm going to jump into this car that's headed to one of the main public selling cobalt depots.
(voice-over): I'm told we're going to Kaparta (ph) Market. This is where the cobalt is bought by brokers. It's where it first enters the supply
The car company, Tesla, for one says its cobalt sources are audited and issued with certificates of origin. They wouldn't say from where or how,
but there is no sign of certification here.
We watch the brokers at the site and none of them ask where the cobalt is from, or how it was mined. Artisanal mining output tripled last year, and
the fear is, even more children are being pressed into labor. Why? Because cobalt is skyrocketing in price. Supplying your green electric car
comes at a cost.
We have permission to film here but local mining officials, once more try to stop us. The producer captures the scene on a hidden camera.
The government says it's working to combat child labor, but the same mining ministry officials tasked with enforcing an ethical supply chain have been
the ones attempting to block our investigation.
A police officer arrives and we're told we need to leave for our own safety. We do, but not before we spot a red truck loaded up and leaving
the very same market. It matches the distinctive red of the trucks used by one of the main international cobalt supply firms; China's Congo DongFang
Mining, CDM. We decide to follow it.
We can't afford to lose him because where he delivers that cobalt load -- that is the link between the children that you saw down there on the
riverfront and the global market.
As the truck pulled into its final destination, guards rush out to block our cameras. We later receive a warning phone call. This facility is
under the protection of the presidential guard. We're told to stay away.
What's going on? That appeared to be a CDM truck but this isn't a CDM facility. Tax records show it was the declared nonoperational three years
ago. Rising smoke and export records show cobalt is still produced here.
CDM's parent company, Huayou, tells CNN they did have a relationship with the facility, which ended only last year. They're disturbed enough to
launch an investigation into our findings, although they state other companies also use red trucks.
CNN visited three sites to show how widespread the use of child labor is. At this mine, in spite of our permission, we eventually had to resort to
filming undercover to capture the children.
We couldn't prove where exactly the dirty cobalt enters the international supply chain, but we witnessed that it does.
Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Fiat Chrysler among others, say they have a zero tolerance policy for the use of child labor, but they acknowledge they are
unable to fully map their supply chain due to its complex nature. Car makers simply cannot promise consumers their products are 100 percent child
This is the Artisanal Mining Cooperative, called Casulu (ph). It's run by the main international supplier, CDM. Rows and rows of red trucks, like
the one we followed, await pickup here. Access and entry are controlled to block the presence of children. And certificates of origin, CDM say
dispensed in controlled circumstances.
This is what the big brand names who source their cobalt from Congo believe governs their supply. But this is the exception, not the norm. The cobalt
from Casulu (ph) accounts for less than a quarter of the country's artisanal cobalt export.
Here, the Ministry of Mining has to count supplies for the certificate of origin to be considered valid. So the very same entity whose officials CNN
found complicit in hiding the presence of child labor at the artisanal mines we visited is responsible for certifying the cobalt here is child
After 10 days in Congo, our contacts advise us to leave for our own safety.
From what we've witnessed, it's clear no manufacturer can fully assure you that your electric car is truly ethical. And as demand for essential
cobalt soars, it's children like this little boy who are paying the real price.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, Kolwezi, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
AMANPOUR: A heavy price indeed. And before the team left Congo the provincial governor told CNN that there had been an improvement, they don't
want kids to be working in the mines - but all of that is being overshadowed by a high level of poverty. He blamed the interference that
we saw at the mining site on suspicious locals, who he says, believed foreigners are trying to bring down the government.
My next guest is hoping to challenge this truly viscous and deadly cycle, running as a candidate in the next presidential election which is scheduled
for December. He's Moise Katumbi, the one-time governor of Katanga Province and he's credited with restoring its economy, its education,
health and infrastructure.
It is the very province that Nima filed that report from, and Katumbi is now appealing for the world to care about stability to Congo, one of the
most violent, but also wealthiest countries in Africa. He is living in forced exile and will join me from neighboring Zambia to talk about this.
Mouise Katumbi, welcome to our program.
MOISE KATUMBI, CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT, DRC: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Katumbi, you just saw the report by our Nima Elbagir -- what happened when you found child laborers like that, when you were governor?
KATUMBI: I saw your report, it really is a pity. When I was elected as governor I found this issue of child labor in the mining sector which I
abolished, and at that time I was very strict because I didn't want to send our children to die in the mining sector. I saw a report is really, very
AMANPOUR: Mr. Katumbi, there are today, hundreds of thousands of children from your country who are employed like that in mines, in other industries
- children who are hungry, who are poor. And of course, the Democratic Republic of Congo has trillions and trillions of dollars of raw material
and minerals, and what is going to stop the country from allowing these kids to be exploited like that?
KATUMBI: All this is because of bad governance in our country. Because the government is absent, President Kabila is not doing anything for the
country. If you can see those children, they don't have any future.
That's why you are looking to have a real election and the inclusive election where they are going to respect the agreement. You can tell these
millions of children are dying of hunger, because people are stealing money from the government, and the government is absent. We can't allow this,
that's why we need, really, help from the international community so this thing can stop.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Katumbi, these minerals have fueled Congo's civil war, what happens if there is no election? If Mr. Kabila still doesn't hold an
KATUMBI: This is why you are looking for this election, because if there is no election, Congo is going to continue in the instability and there can
be a civil war. Today is five million people displaced internally, they are killing a lot of people. Millions of people are dying in the east, in
the central, is all over the country. That's why we need to have these elections, so at least there can be peace in the Congo.
Because if Kabila remains, he is going always to keep this militia group who is stealing all our minerals, using children in the mining sector. And
in the law of - in the law of Congo is very good. When I was governor I abolished these things for the child labor.
AMANPOUR: But are you going to be able to go back? You have been, you know, told that you're a dual national and therefore you are not going to
be recognized, you've been sentenced in absentia for a real estate deal. They're doing everything they can to make it difficult for you to contest
KATUMBI: You know, Kabila knows I was a good governor and I am a good candidate. That's why he's creating all these stories. I am going to go
back. I'm in, the region, you see - I was in Rwanda today -- I mean, Zambia - I have seen the progress in democracy in Zambia. The investment with
President Lungu. have seen the progress which is going around in the neighboring country, even in Rwanda, even what is going on Angola.
So we need also peace. We need free and fair election -- at least the Congo is going to be the center of the progress in Central Africa.
AMANPOUR: Will you go back and are you afraid for your safety?
KATUMBI: I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. We're having somebody which can kill even people in the church. So this is really what Kabila want. How
many people have he have killed in the church because they went to pray for election and the went with their rosary?
I'm not scared going back to my country. I will go and change the face of Congo. At least the people of Congo can have a smile one day.
AMANPOUR: What message would you have for the United States as it looks around Africa, it looks to see countries like yours, which are full of
economic potential? What message do you have for the U.S. and for the West, in fact?
KATUMBI: Want to congratulate the U.S. government because they are doing everything, even the security counsel for us. Ambassador Nikki Haley came
to the Congo because she wants Congo really to have a new, free and election and inclusive election. What I'm asking -- they have to push
because Kabila is lying to them, he's going to have election. Kabila is not going to organize election.
He want to organize election where he can choose his candidate. That's why I'm asking the U.S. government, really. These people are suffering.
Millions of people are dying. What we need as Congolese, we need a free and fair and inclusive election.
AMANPOUR: Moise Katumbi, thank you so much. And of course, in the only credible poll that was done in the Congo recently, you did come out ahead.
So we'll see if that election takes place. Thank you so much for joining us.
KATUMBI: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: We'll be watching indeed, because imagine if good governance came to Congo what a powerhouse for Africa it would be.
And that is it for our program tonight. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.