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Kerry to Testify on Iran Nuke Deal; Obama Speaks at Mandela Memorial; Violence in Central African Republic; Founder of PIP Sentenced

Aired December 10, 2013 - 12:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CO-ANCHOR: We're watching for this, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's arrival on Capitol Hill. He's actually scheduled to testify about 1:00 or so to defend the recent Iran nuke deal before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Now, that deal, of course, calls for more inspections, some limits also on Iran's uranium enrichment program in exchange for the easing of some sanctions on Iran. But a bipartisan group of senators is close to a deal, on an agreement, if you like, on tougher sanctions.

MALVEAUX: And so let's bring in Jim Sciutto from Washington to talk a little bit about this and dissect this.

And take us through this here because we want to understand. Secretary Kerry spends all this time to get this breakthrough deal with Iran.

You strike this interim agreement last month in Geneva, and then it makes it harder for the White House which is already afraid that Iran's not going to commit to go forward with this and really see if it works, see if it happens.

Does this just not come down to trust? Congress is not ready to trust Iran even under a new regime.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think you're absolutely right. There's a gaping trust deficit. That's basically the point of view not just of Republican lawmakers, but even Democratic lawmakers. You can't trust Iran. Therefore, you have to keep adding to pressure, economic pressure on the regime, even while the deal is under way, that that's the only thing that's going to keep them honest, in effect.

Now, the administration's response is sort of an odd modification on the old "trust-but-verify" with the Soviets. Kerry said, It's not trust, but verify. It's verify and verify and verify. They say that they're going to monitor this deal and that any minor sanctions relief -- they call it "minor" -- they're doing is easily rolled back if Iran doesn't abide by any of its commitments under this agreement.

HOLMES: So Jim, that really is the point. I mean, the administration says this is rolling back some sanctions in a minor way as an incentive to Iran to follow through on the Geneva deal. What is it that members of Congress are against here? Why not give it a chance? It's easily fixed. It's not all sanctions. Why make it tougher and perhaps frighten them off?

SCIUTTO: That's the argument. It's an interesting situation here because you have the American president and the Iranian president making the same argument, in effect, that new sanctions now will destroy or at least seriously damage the diplomatic path here.

And to some degree that's part of the administration's response here in the U.S. is OK, what's your alternative? You know, if these sanctions destroy the diplomatic path, destroy our credibility not just with the Iranians but even with their European partners, a point the administration makes repeatedly, what's your option?

Are you saying that we're ready to bomb Iran? That's in effect part of their pushback, but it's a sales pitch that hasn't worked yet on the Hill.

HOLMES: And, very briefly, Jim, if they do push forward with some new sanctions, can the president just turn around and say, no, I'm not going to do it?

SCIUTTO: Unfortunately not. He cannot do that. That's one reason they're pushing back so hard.

One thing that can happen is that Senator Reid, Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, can keep this from going to a vote. But when you have Democratic senators on board, as well, that's going to be difficult for him to do.

MALVEAUX: And, Jim, one thing that you've been doing, you've been reporting, talking with the Iranians saying, look, if there are any additional sanctions, this whole thing is dead, right?

SCIUTTO: And you had that public comment from the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in interviews with "Time" magazine and "The New York Times. He said it in so many words. New sanctions will kill this deal, his words.

HOLMES: Yeah. Yeah, you've also got Iranian President Rouhani who's fighting off hard-liners on his own side who are just waiting to say, I told you so.

Jim, we'll leave it there. Thanks so much, Jim Sciutto.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: And President Obama drawing parallels between the struggles and challenges of blacks in the United States and South Africa.

His message at the memorial for Nelson Mandela, we've got more of that, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: The official good-byes started today for South Africa's Nelson Mandela, a man, of course, who went from being a freedom fighter, activist, to political prisoner and then president.

Today, it wasn't only the people of South Africa honoring him. You had leaders there from more than 90 countries, all traveling to Jo-burg to pay tribute to this global symbol of reconciliation.

MALVEAUX: And, despite the pouring rain, we heard the chants, we heard the cheers and, of course, the many challenges for the world to learn from Mandela's example.

It was one of these messages here that we heard from President Obama.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must ask how well have a applied his lessons in my own life. It's a question I ask myself, as a man and as a president. We know that, like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation.

As was true here, it took sacrifice, the sacrifices of countless people, known and unknown, to see the dawn of a new day. Michelle and I are beneficiaries of that struggle.


MALVEAUX: Want to bring in Jake Tapper who's joining us from Washington. And, Jake, let's talk about that moment and the message from the president here, because it has always been something that is somewhat tricky for him to talk about race.

We saw it back in the campaign when he first addressed race in Philadelphia, that speech that he made that was very symbolic, very significant for Americans. We saw when he entered the whole Trayvon Martin, saying that he could have a son that looked like Trayvon Martin. And, yet, there are African-American who's feel like they want more from this president.

Where is the balance there? How does he strike that in talking about race and the significance of our own development in this country, and also, the ways that people are a little bit disappointed?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president has always had a tough line to walk here when it comes to that.

He's been mindful of the fact that that he's not president of African- Americans. He's president of the United States, and that, to many African-American leaders, has often been disappointing. They have not seen him as the kind of leader he wanted to be.

But the president's approach has been, to compare it to Nelson Mandela, Mandela wanted to make sure he wasn't just president of the black majority in South Africa, but that he was president of the whole country when he was elected in 1994. That's kind of the same message that President Obama has been talking about, although obviously very different in terms of the circumstances, but talking about income inequality, in general, talking about failing schools, in general, talking about how many individuals are in the judicial system, in general, not specifically focusing on African-Americans.

Although on occasion, such as Father's Day, he does talk about messages for African-Americans, but often when he does try to do that, the same black leaders criticize him for lecturing them. So, in a way, it's a double-edged sword. He can't win.

MALVEAUX: And let's also listen to something else that was significant. This was a moment that a lot of people really resonated with.


OBAMA: There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba's struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.

And there are too many of us, too many of us on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism, when our voices must be heard.


HOLMES: And, Jake, you know, when you listen to the president and the things he had to say, other world leaders, too, the remarkable thing, as we've been saying, is the sort of breadth of leaders who were there.

Was there a commonality that came out of that that can give heart to international relations, per se?

TAPPER: Certainly. And you saw that in the president's handshaking with the leader of Cuba, Raul Castro.

But the message that the president was giving right there was a message right to Raul Castro and Robert Mugabe, who were both in attendance, as well as to Bashar al-Assad, who wasn't there today, but issued a statement after Mandela's passing.

He was taking -- I wouldn't call it a shot -- but he was reprimanding them, leaders who do not believe in the same kind of freedoms that Mandela stood for, even while they attend his funeral and give a lot of words to what Mandela ultimately spent his whole life for, which is freedom and democracy.

MALVEAUX: And Jake, do you think there was a message in the domestic audience, as well?

Do you think he was speaking to some of his critics in the United States who have really prevented him from moving forward in his own agenda? TAPPER: I don't. I think he was mainly focused on Castro, Mugabe, Assad, individuals in the international world who are suppressing their people and not providing them with the freedoms they extol at the same moment that they're attending the Mandela memorial.

MALVEAUX: All right, Jake Tapper, appreciate it, Jake. Good to see you, as always.

And, of course, Nelson Mandela inspired the world, essentially, to make an impact in some way. And there are many people who are really trying to follow his lead.

If you would like to be one of those folks, we have more on Mandela's charitable legacy and how you can actually get involved because that's really what it's all about. You can visit the website,

HOLMES: Well, it's in the heart of Africa. Some say it is on the verge of genocide, certainly chaos.

Now President Obama also says it is time to stop the killing in the Central African Republic. The world, this time around, is watching.


OBAMA: But the awful violence of recent days threatens the country you love. Innocent men, women and children have been killed.


MALVEAUX: Up next, you're going to hear more of what President Obama told the people there.


HOLMES: And now to a country in the heart of Africa, and many fear that the violence there could turn that small place into the next Rwanda.

MALVEAUX: With many saying that the country is now on the verge of genocide, President Obama has now issued an urgent plea to help the people there.


OBAMA: Most of all, every citizen of the Central African Republic can show the courage that's need right now. You can show your love for your country by rejecting the violence that would tear it apart. You can choose peace. You can choose to live up to the rule that is at the heart of all great faiths.


HOLMES: What's worrying here is that this is sectarian in nature. It is Muslim versus Christian in a Christian-dominated country. We've got reports from the ground the violence is continuing. Two French soldiers, France, of course, the colonial power or former colonial power when it comes to the CAR, has sent more troops in there to try to end the violence, but it is continuing. They lost two soldiers yesterday.

Nima Elbagir is on the ground there. Here's her report.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as the U.N. Security Council was voting to give France the mandate it needed to engage here in the Central African Republic, Christian and Muslim militias were taking aim at each other's communities.

ELBAGIR (on camera): For the last 20, 30 minutes, we've been hearing sustained gunfire. We've now started hearing some heavy weaponry. It's coming from a lot of different directions. Oh, and that was an RP overhead. Oh.




ELBAGIR: I'm here. I'm here.


ELBAGIR: I'm here. I'm here. Where are you? All right, they told us to go. They told us to go. Let's go! Let's go!

The African forces (INAUDIBLE) have come to get us. You can see them, they're giving cover so the U.N. vehicles can get out. We've now been brought to the Solmat (ph) base. The fighting is still quite close even here. Some of the displaced people, when they heard gunshots, ran and they're taking shelter here with the African forces.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): We have finally had some respite after two days of violent clashes. The African regional peacekeeping force, FOMAC, was able to negotiate a brief cease fire to allow aid agencies to get out there and assess the needs.

ELBAGIR (on camera): They're running low on food. They're running low on water. They desperately need some sort of proper shelter. They desperately need medicine. And they can't leave this camp. They are effectively under siege by the selecta (ph) militias. The only line of defense between them and the seleca (ph) now are the African forces guarding them.

ROBERT MCCARTHY, UNICEF EMERGENCY CHIEF, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: You know, the rights of children and women need to be respected and they're not being respected. And, you know, we can't do our work and there's frankly little prospect for moving out of this situation unless people, especially leaders, people who are armed, people who are responsible for armed men recognize that and begin to take those responsibilities seriously.

ELBAGIR: They're shooting again. The shooting started again, so everybody's having to run for shelter inside.

Should we take the other one? The children are all squashed here, so there's no room for us. You can see how terrified people are, even here, inside these walls surrounded by soldiers. They are still not safe.


MALVEAUX: Excellent reporting. Nima Elbagir, really bringing it to you from the ground and just giving a sense -- because a lot of people have - they have not been paying attention to this story and it is so critical. It is so important what is happening there. So many people whose lives are at stake.

HOLMES: Well, last estimates are now 600,000 people, about 10 percent of the population, are displaced by this fighting. And, you know, the sectarian nature of it is what's worrying, as well. There have been hundreds of people killed. The French president is flying in there today on the way back from the Nelson Mandela memorial to visit the troops there. As I say, two French soldiers were killed yesterday.

MALVEAUX: We are also covering this. A man accused of making breast implants on the cheap that could rupture, leak industrial chemicals into women's bodies. Well, today, a disgraced former executive is learning the price he is going to have to pay.


MALVEAUX: A French court has sentenced the founder of a breast implant company to prison time, as well as a big fine. This is coming about three years after the company made global headlines.

HOLMES: Yes. Prosecutors claimed these implants were filled with industrial grade silicone that could rupture and even cause cancer and that hundreds of thousands of women worldwide were put at risk. This is the so-called PIP implants. Let's go to CNN's Atika Shubert for more.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael and Suzanne, Jean- Claude Mas is the founder of PIP, and that's the French company that made these detective breast implants. He's been sentenced to four years in prison for fraud. He also has to pay a fine of a little bit more than $100,000. Now, throughout the trial, Mas denied doing anything wrong. He still faces a separate trial on the charge of causing involuntary injury. So it's not over for him yet.

He was arrested in January last year after a woman with PIP implants died of cancer. And the investigation that followed found that these implants contained silicone that had not been certified for medical use. They were the kind for industrial use, including stuffing mattresses.

Now, studies have not found any medical link between the implants and cancer, but some other studies did suggest that PIP implants were prone to rupturing, and an estimated 300,000 women in 65 countries received these breast implants from PIP. Back to you, Michael and Suzanne.

HOLMES: All right, Atika Shubert there, thanks for that.

And thanks for watching "AROUND THE WORLD".

MALVEAUX: CNN NEWSROOM starts right now. Have a good afternoon.