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Iran's President calls airstrikes on ISIS 'theater,' says broader campaign needed

September 26th, 2014
02:12 PM ET

Click here for part two of Amanpour's interview with President Rouhani, and here for part three.

By Mick Krever, CNN

(CNN) – Airstrikes against ISIS militants are a "psychological operation," not a military one, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Friday.

"It is a common threat for all of us," he said. "And this requires a unison effort from all of us."

"We need a vast campaign of operations ... the aerial bombardment campaign is mostly, I would say, a form of theater, rather than a serious battle against terrorism."

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode

Chief U.S. negotiator says Iran talks ‘the most complex negotiation I've ever seen’

July 29th, 2014
09:29 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Talks with Iran over its nuclear program are “the most complex negotiation I've ever seen,” Chief U.S. Negotiator Wendy Sherman told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Friday.

“The number of elements that have to be addressed – from enrichment capacity, to facilities, to research and development, to possible military dimensions, existing U.N. Security Council sanctions – I could go and on.”

“It is very complicated, very technical, many pages of annexes ultimately in any final agreement. So this takes a lot of work.”

Iran and world powers agreed, a little over a week ago, to extend negotiations four months in the hope that a permanent deal could be struck.

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, told Amanpour that the talks are "a historic opportunity for all of us to end a rather prolonged chapter.”

“The point is whether it is possible to make a deal,” he said. “We're not talking about a bad deal or a good deal, but a doable deal. A lasting deal.”

Sherman praised all the negotiators, including Iran – and Zarif, who leads the delegation – as having been “very serious and very focused.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode

Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif: 'It’s a historic opportunity for all of us'

July 17th, 2014
04:38 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Talks between world powers and Iran over that country's nuclear program are "a historic opportunity for all of us to end a rather prolonged chapter," Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday in Vienna.

A Sunday deadline is looming for negotiators to reach agreement on a comprehensive solution on Iran’s nuclear program; Iran, in return, is seeking broad sanctions relief and access to international markets. It now seems likely that Sunday’s deadline will not be met and may have to be extended.

"I think we have made enough serious discussion for us to think about the feasibility of continuing these discussions," Zarif said. "I think Secretary Kerry made that recommendation. I have made the recommendation."

“The point is whether it is possible to make a deal, we're not talking about a bad deal or a good deal, but a doable deal. A lasting deal.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode

Why Iraq could be more dangerous than pre-9/11 Afghanistan

June 17th, 2014
09:15 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

As Sunni extremists broaden their control of territory from Syria deep into Iraq, the Middle East may now be facing its greatest challenge in decades.

“This is the Talibanization of Iraq,” journalist and author Robin Wright told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday. “And there’s no question that the global Jihadi threat is greater today than it was at the height in the 1980s or even in 2001, when we saw the attacks in Washington and New York.”

The U.S. has started moving more military assets into the region as militants advance towards the Iraqi city of Baquba, just 60 kilometers from Baghdad. President Barack Obama has said that he will not send troops in on the ground.

The rise of ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has been fuelled by civil war in Syria. The group is trying to carve out a Sunni statelet that straddles the nearly none-existent border between Iraq and Syria.

“Ultimately we can't solve Iraq with also dealing with Syria,” Wright said. “That's what makes this challenge arguably greater than any one we've faced in the Middle East, you could argue, in six or seven decades.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Iraq • Latest Episode

Israel would preserve ‘Jewish, democratic’ values with Palestinian deal, Tzipi Livni tells Amanpour

March 4th, 2014
03:49 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

A peace deal with the Palestinians would allow Israel to keep its “values as a Jewish, democratic state,” chief Israeli negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“The best choice is to divide the land and to keep the state of Israel – maybe smaller – but with our values as a Jewish, democratic state living in harmony – a secured state,” Livni said from Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Washington to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and discuss, among other things, America’s renewed push for Middle East peace.

Secretary of State John Kerry is spearheading an effort to have Israel and the Palestinians reach a framework agreement – a foundation upon which a permanent deal could be negotiated.

“I’m sure that [neither] us [nor] the Palestinians are going to be in love with it,” Livni said. “But I hope that both of us can live with it, move forward, and this is something that can create trust and basis for negotiations.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Lord Lamont: I believe Rouhani is sincere

February 5th, 2014
09:27 AM ET

It seems Iran is quite the place to be right now judging by the procession of western diplomats and business leaders making their way to Tehran.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is there meeting with his counterpart Javad Zarif, discussing Iran’s nuclear programme. And more than 100 French business executives are also having meetings inside the country this week, with other European countries planning similar trips.

In the United States though, Congress continues to battle over new sanctions for Iran; and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has even joined the fray, arguing against that move.

Lord Lamont, the Chairman of the British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, has recently returned from Tehran as well. He was part of a UK parliamentary delegation that came back with strong recommendations for engagement with Iran. The former British finance minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that members of the government he met with were “positive” about dealing with the west and felt it was “in the interest of both parties”. But despite there being “a lot of goodwill” from the Iranian side, he says they felt negotiations could be “very difficult", that there is "quite a wide gap between the two sides”.

Asked whether President Hassan Rouhani is a man Britain “can do business with”, Lord Lamont told Amanpour he believes Rouhani is “sincere” and that he does want to make changes in Iran, but that he will not be able to make all the changes he wants unless he gets a nuclear deal.

That said, Lord Lamont says everyone he met in Tehran emphasised that any deal has to be approved “not just by the government, not just by ministers, but by other ‘centers of power’”.

Click above to watch the interview.


Filed under:  Iran • Latest Episode

Turkey to Assad: Transition out or face the ICC

January 23rd, 2014
02:44 PM ET
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Turkey: Indict Assad over Syria photos

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says alleged Syria torture, killing photos represent "a crime against humanity"

The transcript of Christiane Amanpour's full interview with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu can be found here.

By Mick Krever, CNN

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should take peace talks seriously and transition out of power, or face the International Criminal Court, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

Responding to photos that allegedly prove systematic torture and killing by the Syrian regime, Davutoglu, said “those photos are clear evidences … this is a crime against humanity.”

Davutoglu spoke with Amanpour from Montreux, Switzerland, where world powers are trying to broker an improbable peace in Syria.

Amanpour was the first to report, with the Guardian on Monday, on an investigation alleging that the Syrian regime is murdering prisoners on a mass scale. The investigation was authored by a team of international legal and forensic experts and based on thousands of photographs provided by a Syrian defector.

“All of those who committed this crime must be accountable,” Davutoglu said. “We should not be doing the same mistake like what happened in Srebrenica.”

“In Srebrenica some people tried to turn their eye and some tried to ignore Srebrenica for some time. But Srebrenica has happened and it was a shame for international community.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode • Syria • Turkey

EXCLUSIVE: Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev says acts portrayed in Syria torture photos are ‘crimes’

January 22nd, 2014
03:27 PM ET
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EXCLUSIVE: Medvedev on Sochi, Syria

Part one of Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

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EXCLUSIVE: Medvedev on Russia's economy

Part two of Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

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EXCLUSIVE: Medvedev on gay rights

Part three of Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The transcript of Christiane Amanpour's full interview with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev can be found here.

By Mick Krever, CNN

The killings portrayed in photos allegedly proving torture of prisoners by the Assad regime are “crimes,” but it is not clear who is responsible and the claims must be proven in court, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview that aired Wednesday.

“These are crimes, of course,” Medvedev told Amanpour at his office outside Moscow, but the case “should have firm proof legally.”

“I know there are a lot of victims, and that's very sad, but that does not mean that the existence of victims or victims in a particular place is the proof that those are the victims of the regime and not the bandits who were doing something or any other force.”

The investigation alleging that the Syrian regime is murdering prisoners on a mass scale, first reported by Amanpour on Monday, was authored by a team of international legal and forensic experts and based on thousands of photographs provided by a Syrian defector.

The defector claimed to have worked as a photographer at a military hospital that received dead bodies from detention centers.

Amanpour showed Medvedev gruesome pictures of emaciated corpses and torsos covered from neck to groin in bludgeon wounds.

“You know, in my university where I was studying law, I was taught that until the fact of guilt is proved in court, a person cannot be claimed guilty,” he said.

“We cannot say that Assad is a criminal without investigation,” he told Amanpour. “So probably this other trial should be held on the territory of Syria after the conflict subsides. It's the right of the Syrian people.”

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Filed under:  Best Interviews • Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode • Russia • Syria

U.S. hails implementation of interim Iran deal

January 13th, 2014
04:01 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The implementation of an interim deal with Iran is a “positive” and “concrete” step towards curbing that country’s nuclear program, U.S. Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

The agreement, which was negotiated late last year in Geneva, will come in effect on January 20; and the U.S. Treasury was a major player in negotiating it.

The idea behind the deal is to create an amenable environment, for six months, during which time Iran and world powers can try to agree on a more comprehensive, permanent accord.

So just what is in the deal?

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode

Setting a new Iran to music

January 13th, 2014
08:12 AM ET

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode
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