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Governor Admits Affair; The Protests Continue in Iran's Bloody Streets

Aired June 24, 2009 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm coming to you from Paris tonight for a very good reason which we'll get to a bit later.

Regarding our top story, this is a place where politicians committing marital infidelity rarely gets more than a Gallic shrug. Not the situation back home.

It is very different tonight. South Carolina's governor reveals why he vanished, admits to a long distance love affair and asks forgiveness.

But that's not all, his wife now firing back. Internet love letters surfaced and the Republican Party reels from the second infidelity scandal this month both from men who made family values a big part of their political message.

Also ahead tonight, the picture in Iran darkens; you just saw some of it on Larry's program. Protesters often outnumbered by police and now the dreaded Revolutionary Guard, brutal beatings, forced TV confessions and a Supreme Leader who refuses to soften his very tough line.

All of that in the hour ahead.

We begin with the latest from Governor Mark Sanford. It is a story that is both stranger than fiction and as old and true as human nature.

After vanishing without a trace last Thursday, South Carolina's Governor Sanford resurfaced today standing in the hot lights facing the cameras, his wife and four children not by his side.

He shoots down the cover story that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail and tells the world he's just back from Buenos Aires, Argentina. That's where the governor has been with a woman with whom he admits he's been having an affair.

His confession dramatic, he resigns as head of the Republican Governors Association, but -- and this is important -- right now is hoping to stay on as governor.

His wife is speaking out tonight. His Party's doing damage control. We've got all the angles tonight.

First though, Governor Sanford's stunning story in his own words.


GOV. MARK SANFORD, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Let me lay out that larger story that has attracted so many of you all here. I'm a bottom-line kind of guy. I'll lay it out. It's going to hurt. And we'll let the chips fall where they may.

In so doing, let me first of all apologize to my wife Jenny and our four boys, great boys Marshal, Landon, Bolton and Blake for letting them down.

One of the primary roles well before being a governor is being a father to those four boys who are absolutely jewels and blessings that I've let down in a profound way. And I apologize to them.

And I don't like apologizing in this realm but given the immediacy of you all just wanting to visit and my proximity to them, this is the first step in what will be a very long process on that front.

I would secondly say to Jenny -- anybody who has observed her over the last 20 years of my life knows how closely she has stood by my side in campaign after campaign after campaign, literally being my campaign manager and in the raising of those four boys and in a whole host of other things throughout the lives that we built together.

I would also apologize to my staff because as much as I did talk about going to the Appalachian Trail and that was one of the original scenarios that I'd thrown out to Mary Neil that isn't where I ended up. And so I let them down by creating fiction with regard to where I was going which means that I had then in turn given as much as they relied on that information let down people that I represent across this state.

So the bottom line is this. I've been unfaithful to my wife. I developed a relationship with a -- what started out as a dear, dear friend from Argentina. It began very innocently as I suspect many of these things do in just a casual e-mail back and forth, in advice on one's life there and advice here. But here recently over this last year developed into something much more than that.

And as a consequence, I hurt her. I hurt you all. I hurt my wife. I hurt my boys. I hurt friends like Tom Davis. I hurt a lot of different folks. And all I can say is that I apologize.

I would ask for you all -- I guess I'm not deserving of indulgence -- but indulgence not for me but for Jenny and the boys. There are a team of cameras and all those sorts of things camped out at Sullivan's Island. And I would just ask for a zone of privacy. It's not for me, it's for her and the boys.

As we go through this process of working through this, there are going to be some hard decisions to be made, to be dealt with, and those are probably not best dealt with through the prism of television cameras and media headlines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you separated? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you separated from the First Lady?

SANFORD: I don't how you want to find that, I mean, I'm here and she's there. I guess in a formal sense we're not, but you know, what we're trying to do is work through something that, you know, we've been working through for a number of months now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did your wife and your family know about the affair before the trip to Argentina?

SANFORD: Yes. We've been -- we've been working through this thing for about the last five months.


COOPER: Now, where he goes from here is a question we'll be taking up shortly. He stepped-down as chairman, as I mentioned, of the Republican Governors Association. He was dropped today from the speaker's list for this year's Values Voters Summit. One of the sessions there titled "Marriage Why it's Worth Defending."

We'll talk politics shortly with Candy Crowley and marriage with Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Also ahead tonight: more on the woman in Argentina, now at the center of this very big storm. What we have learned about her.

Let's get the big picture though, right now from David Mattingly who is in South Carolina.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Podium in public, the most private matters of the heart.

SANFORD: But the bottom line is this. I've been unfaithful to my wife.

MATTINGLY: Unfaithful and a confession. But at the same time, plenty of unanswered questions from a Republican rising star who fell to earth.

JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO.COM: He was widely thought to be a 2012 contender for the Republicans. He is now known to the country and to some of the world because of this indiscretion.

MATTINGLY: It wasn't supposed to be this way. Politically, he was on the GOP fast track; the 49-year-old two-term governor of South Carolina a traditional conservative who said no to the president's stimulus cash. He is now a pariah and his Party battered again.

MARTIN: This is one more black eye for the Republican Party and in some ways are their own worst enemies and they're blocking their own comeback.

MATTINGLY: Personally the image projected was of a devoted husband, a loving father. Sanford who worked in real estate and was an Air Force Reservist married his wife Jenny in 1989.

She left her job as an investment banker to run his campaign. The wealthy couple has four sons who range in ages from 10 to 17. The big question, will they reconcile? The answer, maybe.

In a statement today Jenny Sanford said, "I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be."

She also said she knew of his infidelity and this month agreed to a trial separation. And most importantly, she said, "I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage."

As for the other woman, it is a very long distance love affair. Her name reportedly is Maria. Sanford traveled to Argentina to be with her over the weekend. Sanford who has not resigned as governor said "He let many people down" but even his political rivals are offering personal support.

JAKE KNOTTS, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA STATE SENATE: I think that it took a strong man to stand there and do what he did. I saw a Mark Sanford today that I felt was sincere in his apology.

MATTINGLY: Sanford is asking for forgiveness but he acknowledges it won't come quickly.


COOPER: So David, his wife maybe seems willing to forgive and work on their marriage. Well, do we know if the people of South Carolina are willing to forgive him?

MATTINGLY: Well, when it comes to the public, his affair is not the governor's biggest problem right now. With this trip to Buenos Aires, he misled his staff about his whereabouts who in turn misled the public.

He left the state. He left the country without telling anyone where he was going and was completely out of touch for days on end; the political damage from that may be irreparable -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, David Mattingly thanks very much.

A lot to talk about and the live chat is certainly heating up. You can join in at

Just ahead tonight: the object of his affection. What he said to this woman in Argentina in e-mail exchanges about his love for her, but also his confusion about what to do next.

Also ahead tonight: the very latest on what appears to be growing brutality against protesters in Iran. If you thought it couldn't get any worse, it just may be. The Revolutionary Guard now getting into the act, the Ayatollah acting defiant and scenes of apparently forced confessions.

We'll show you some of those blaming the uprisings on the West.

All that and more tonight from Paris. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Mark Sanford wouldn't get too specific about the identity of the woman he's been involved with, but today he did reveal some information about how their relationship began and how it changed. Listen.


SANFORD: And it began just on a very casual basis. We developed a remarkable friendship over those eight years. And then, as I said, about a year ago, it sparked into something more than that.

I have seen her three times since then during that whole sparking thing. And it was discovered -- let me finish -- five months ago and at that point, we went into serious overdrive and trying to say where do you go from here.


COOPER: Well, the governor and the woman exchanged e-mails, some very intimate. Those e-mails of course, have leaked out. They always do. Tonight you'll hear some of them.

Also Joe Johns has all that and some new details on who this woman is -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, an Argentinean source familiar with the relationship says the woman Sanford fell in love with is separated from her husband. He is an executive who runs a multinational business.

The source says her first name is Maria, that she's a former journalist and lives in an apartment with her two sons in an upscale central Buenos Aires neighborhood known as Palermo. Maria apparently met Sanford in New York eight years ago when the governor said she was separated from her husband.

In his news conference today, Sanford said, their relationship started with an incredibly earnest conversation about whether she ought to get back with her husband for the sake of her boys.

At that point, it was 2001. Sanford had not yet been elected governor of South Carolina although he had already served six years in Congress by the time he met Maria. He stepped down from the House of Representatives in the year 2000, keeping a promise to his constituents to abide by a term limit.

Though that relationship may have started out as a friendship, it apparently had blossomed into much more by last year. In an e-mail last July and reprinted today by the state newspaper in South Carolina, Maria wrote Sanford, "You are the love -- you are my love, something hard to believe even for myself as it's also kind of impossible love not only because of distance, but situations. Sometimes you don't choose things, they just happen. I can't redirect my feelings and I am very happy with mine towards you."

CNN's efforts to contact Maria have been unsuccessful. As for those e-mails the state newspaper obtained those e-mails. They say the governor's office authenticated them but state officials would neither confirm nor deny their authenticity for us -- Anderson.

COOPER: Joe, do we know if those e-mails were sent by government computer I mean, from actually from his office or from his own government account?

JOHNS: It's just not clear because we've been unable to get verification on the authenticity. That's something we have to sort of look toward the state newspaper for that -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. No doubt more of that is going to be coming out in a couple days.

Joe Johns reporting that, thank you, Joe.

More next, including the other question about whether the governor spent taxpayer money for any of this -- for his trips down to Argentina.

Candy Crowley joins with us that. Also "Loveline's" Dr. Drew on the e-mails, the visits and the impact on Governor Sanford's family.

Later new information about the Washington Metro wreck: nine people died in all. Tonight, attention is focusing on a key piece of equipment that might have prevented a collision. The question why didn't it.

And of course, our coverage of Iran continues. The very latest out of Iran with the government cracking down even harder it seems; graphic new images and new information from Ivan Watson and Reza Sayah who has just gotten out of Tehran.

Details ahead.


COOPER: Ahead, more of those Internet love letters between the governor and the woman he's been having an affair with in Argentina and questions about whether taxpayer dollars were spent on the governor's trips to Argentina.

First Erica Hill joins us with "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, at least 62 people are dead, 150 others wounded after a bomb ripped through a marketplace in eastern Baghdad. The blast comes just days before all U.S. troops are to pull out of Iraqi cities and move to bases.

In Washington, D.C. investigators, now looking at whether signaling problems on a stretch of track may have contributed to Monday's deadly subway crash. The system is supposed to control train speed and make sure trains don't collide. Nine people died Monday when one train rear-ended another. Meantime, a Maryland Congressman is pushing for $3 billion in federal funding to upgrade Metro cars.

Citigroup is boosting salaries by as much as 50 percent in hopes of not only keeping top talent but also to apparently make-up for shrinking bonuses. The banking company has received $45 billion from the federal government to stay afloat during the economic crisis.

And Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi denying he ever paid a woman for sex. The 72-year-old told an Italian magazine he quote, "Never understood where the satisfaction is when you're missing the pleasure of conquests." Berlusconi is accused of paying prostitutes to attend parties at his various homes. Despite the scandal, though, he remains popular and vows he won't be forced-out of office although he did in a recent interview with CNN, Anderson, he say "it's a bit of a burden being prime minister but he's the only leader who can hold the center right together."

COOPER: There you go, a modest man. Italy's leader there, Erica clearly, not about to hold a tearful news conference anytime soon.

We'll have more with Erica, another update later on in the program.

Also, more questions tonight about South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford. Did he use taxpayer money to pay for those visits to his lover in Argentina? We'll find out.

Plus, reports of new violence in Iran's streets as the government appears to be taking an even harder line toward protesters; baton- wielding thugs chasing down protesters.

Reza Sayah just back from Iran tells us what he has seen over the last few days.

And newly released Watergate tapes and what they reveal about President Nixon's views of abortion. His words, nothing short of shocking.

We'll be right back


COOPER: More now on Governor Mark Sanford's confession today and the Internet love letters that tell part of the story. Columbia, South Carolina's paper "The State" obtained these letters or these e- mails.

They say the governor's office authenticated them. But the state officials would neither confirm nor deny their authenticity for CNN. Now, you saw an excerpt from the governor's lover in Joe John's report.

Here's a sample of one of the replies from Governor Sanford dated July 10th of last year. He wrote, "You have a particular grace and charm that I adore. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips."

In closing he goes on to write, "We are in a hopelessly impossible situation of love. I feel a little vulnerable because this is ground I have never certainly never covered before. So if you have pearls of wisdom on how we figure all this out, please let me know."

Governor Sanford's last summer in love and in a world of pain certainly tonight.

With us now, Candy Crowley on the political angle and Dr. Drew Pinsky, addiction medicine specialist and host of "Loveline: For All Things Else."

Candy, clearly Governor Sanford was a rising star in the Republican Party. Talked about a presidential run, is his political future over or do we not know at this point?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know. I mean, it's certainly there is some serious damage here. Particularly in the Republican Party where the core is conservative Christian but there is also the sort of redemption side of a story.

Americans tend to -- voters tend to love redemption sagas. I mean and we can point to any number of politicians beginning with former President of the United States Bill Clinton who never lost their popularity. In fact, the former president became more popular after he left office, as well.

So it is not one size fits all here, but right now tonight, certainly serious damage not just to the governor but to the party as a whole.

COOPER: Well, also, Candy I mean, I guess one part of the story is the actual affair that he had. Then there's the other which is sort of not only the lying about it, but also the possible use of taxpayer money down for trips. Do we know, did he use taxpayer money for trips down to Argentina?

CROWLEY: We don't know that yet. We do know that there were, in fact, State Commerce Department paid trips down to Argentina. Whose idea those trips were, whether he even saw this woman during those trips, those are the kind of details we don't know.

But I have to tell you, if it comes to something like that, if he did use state funds, that is a huge problem as far as his staying in office is concerned because when you look at the whole host of people who have admitted to adulterous affairs, if you look at Governor Spitzer, he in fact, engaged with a prostitute illegal, if you look at former New Jersey Governor McGreevey, he also -- he put a lover on the state payroll.

So it is the illegality that tends to push these people out of office. Others have survived when it is quote, "merely an affair." COOPER: Dr. Drew, Jenny Sanford issued a statement. And I want to read part of it. Today, she said, "I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back in time if he continues to work to reconciliation with the true spirit of humility and repentance."

What do you -- I mean, obviously, she's, I mean, known about this for a while now. It's a horrible thing for her family. When you hear her statement, when you read the whole thing, what do you make of it?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST OF LOVELINE: Well, honestly, what I make of it is outrage and anger. I mean, frankly, ferocious rage coming from this woman and why not. I mean, she's been deeply hurt by this experience, but it seems to be a rage that is sort of pervasive. And it makes me worry that this relationship has been in trouble for quite some time. And that is how a guy like this gets himself into trouble.

As Candy said, people like stories of redemption in this country but we do not like stories of hypocrisy. And so for a guy who's standing for family values to stand up one day or to even come to terms with the fact that his marriage isn't working that was unacceptable.

So perhaps, I have no knowledge of this, but perhaps they've been in trouble for a long time and as a symptom of that now, he's drifted off into another relationship which is even a more outrageous problem now and even more hypocritical.

COOPER: Well, it also seems a difficult -- I mean, he said he's only seen her three times over the course -- I guess of this past year. They've been having some sort of e-mail friendship for eight years or so. Do you think their marriage can survive this?

PINSKY: I think absolutely it can. I have hope for almost any marriage. Even when we're treating sexual addiction, about 80 percent of the partners of sex addicts, frank addicts will stay with their partner. I mean, there's a reason people are together.

And when I work with couples like this -- what I tell them is to really think of these kids and the family and the life they've established together. Do they really want to allow this betrayal to completely destroy their life?

And usually the answer is no. And when they commit on behalf of the kids again, these things can be worked through. They're deep injuries, they take time but they can be worked through.

COOPER: Candy, I want to play for our viewers something that Sanford said about then President Clinton and his relationship with Monica Lewinsky and the effect of that. Let's listen.


SANFORD: The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of democratic government, representative government because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.


COOPER: Mark Sanford then obviously was a Congressman. That was in 1999.

Candy, obviously, again I guess the same thing applies. It's the question of lying and the issue of trust.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. And it's, again, as Dr. Pinsky says, listen, this is also a question of hypocrisy. If you're going to say listen, Bill Clinton really has seriously damaged the country and the country's trust in government because he lied, then certainly the same can hold true. That doesn't mean that we will see the governor resign. I suspect if things get too heated, if he loses the respect of the legislature, which is already kind of a problem, this may be a man who leaves office voluntarily.

But you're right that the fact of the matter is that this is what always sinks Republicans more than Democrats. And part of that is because of the orientation toward a big stress on family values. So when the hypocrisy comes up, it always seems much worse than a Democrat who strays.

COOPER: Dr. Drew Pinsky, Candy Crowley, appreciate it.

Tonight, a lot to talk about: Candy mentioned some of the other recent scandals we've seen -- recent sex scandals. How the politicians involved have handled the damage; a lot more on those stories right now online; you can read details at

A lot more on this program. A lot of you have been weighing on in on Governor Sanford's stunning confession and his secret trip to Argentina. The live chat is still happening right now at Talk to other viewers about what you think. Hear what they have to say.

We're also going to have the latest from Iran. Coming up next, reports today of more blood in the street. What witnesses told CNN and what the government is saying about the media and the young woman whose dying moments have become a symbol of the uprising.

Send us your questions, text them to 94553. The message has to start with the letters AC and a space then your name and a question. If you don't include AC first and the space, we're not going to receive the text.

We're going to talk to Reza Sayah who is just out of Iran. You can put your questions to him.

Later, the voice on newly released Watergate tapes seems familiar; the words deeply, deeply racist. The subject is abortion and interracial couples and what should happen to their fetuses; words from Richard Nixon, then president.

We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Now to Iran and two starkly different versions of the day's events. These are amateur videos you're looking at. They were taken in Tehran's streets today. More than half a dozen witnesses told CNN that hundreds of protesters clashed with waves of riot police in front of the Parliament Building.

They said police outnumbered demonstrators and used overwhelming force to crush the planned demonstration. One source said police beat people, quote, "like animals." Another described blood everywhere.

It's impossible to verify the details of their accounts. We didn't have a reporter on the ground there. Restrictions on reporters in Iran remain, as you know, extremely tight. You see the bloody pictures right there.

Iran's government-run television gave a polar opposite account of what happened saying that a heavy police presence prevented violence in the area, but security forces dispersed about 250 protesters.

At a nearby hospital, a person who answered the phone said no one had been admitted with injuries from any clashes. Interpret that as you will.

Government television also broadcast what it claims are confessions of protestors who claim that Western news organizations are misrepresenting the story. This woman says on state television, says, "I was influenced by "Voice of America," Persia TV and BBC. They used to blame the government forces for the violence. So I was very interested to see what was going on. And when I attended the rallies, I realize that had it was the protesters who attacked public property, soldiers and even other people."

Confession -- so-called confession on Iranian state television.

Meantime, Iran's supreme leader today vowed that the government won't give in to protesters' demands. There's a lot of moving pieces to this story.

Ivan Watson joins me now with the latest from Atlanta -- Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we have more than a half dozen eyewitness accounts of police carrying baton charges to crush this attempted demonstration in Tehran today. This is what one of those eyewitnesses who will remain unidentified for safety reasons, this is what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was 5:30. I was going toward Baharestan with my friend. And this was everyone, not only just supporters of one candidate or the other. Everyone, all of my friends were going to Baharestan to express our opposition to these killings these days and demanding freedom. But the black-clad police, they stopped everyone at Sadi (ph). They emptied the buses that were taking people there and let the private cars go on. And we went on until (INAUDIBLE) and then all of a sudden, some 500 people with clubs and woods, they came out of the (INAUDIBLE) mosque and they pulled into the streets and they starred beating everyone.


WATSON: So you have a harrowing account of this use of force and we've seen this pattern over the past several days, Anderson; the Iranian security forces crushing these demonstrations really putting the demonstrators on the defensive -- Anderson.

COOPER: I'm hearing the fear in that woman's voice and those pictures, unbelievable. Ivan, the Iranian government talked for the first time today about the killing of Neda, the woman who's become such a symbol of these protests. What did they actually have to say about it?

WATSON: Iran's ambassador to Mexico just spoke to CNN Espanol and he said that it's possible that either police or terrorists in the crowd gunned down this 26-year-old woman, Neda Agha Soltan on Saturday. Meanwhile, Iran's state Islamic Republic News Agency indicated that maybe this was a mistake and that the marksman, quote, "had mistaken her for the sister of a terrorist."

We're getting different messages from the Islamic Republic about how and why this woman was gunned down on Saturday, Anderson.

COOPER: Strange, bizarre, hard to describe what is going on right now. Ivan Watson, appreciate it.

Reza Sayah has been CNN's reporter on the ground in Iran, one of the few western reporters who's been able to file from Tehran. He left yesterday, he's back in Atlanta tonight.

Reza you were reporting from Iran for 11 days. Why did you leave?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this happened very abruptly and it was very disappointing to me, Anderson.

Tuesday, yesterday, we got a call to go into the ministry that provides us with press credentials. They said we had a meeting with somebody. We went into an office and there I saw a very large burly man who happened to be an intelligence official and he told me that they had evidence that I had been working since the ban was instilled on Saturday.

They put in a ban. They said, "We have evidence that you've been working," even though they couldn't substantiate it. I said, "What evidence?" They couldn't substantiate it.

But they said, "Let's put this in the past. Here's what we want you to do." He gave me a blank piece of paper and a pen and he said, "We want you to write that you will no longer do any reports from this point forth unless the reports are positive. If you don't write this letter and sign this agreement, you have 24 hours to leave. If you don't leave in 24 hours, we won't be able to guarantee your safety and we won't be able to guarantee that you'll come back here and work."

Obviously, a very unusual request. I spoke to the bosses at CNN, and the decision was easy, Anderson, because of the requests and the not-so-veiled threat, we decided to leave. It was difficult for me to leave the story at such a crucial juncture but that's a decision we made.

COOPER: So when the guy said to you, we can't protect your safety, you took that as a threat?

SAYAH: Yes. Definitely, especially with what's been happening to reporters. Over my stay there, probably around two dozen reporters went missing and they haven't been heard from.

We contacted some local journalists who were in the reformist camp. And as the days unfolded, their phones were off. There were reports that they were missing.

Certainly, if you have someone from Iranian intelligence telling you that we can't guarantee your safety -- that is a classic but crude scare tactic. And you know, who knows? But we left.

COOPER: What do you think was the tipping point that caused the Iranian government to crack down on foreign journalists and how difficult was it to do your job?

SAYAH: Tipping point was Friday. The Supreme Leader came out after a number of days of peaceful protests and he had that message in Friday prayers and basically he said enough is enough. These protests are illegal. If you come out, we're going to crack down and the blood is going to be the responsibility of Mr. Mousavi, the opposition leader.

The next day the protesters came out, and that was the ugly Saturday when you had so many beatings. You had Neda, the 26-year-old student who was shot and killed, and then after that, you saw the protests getting smaller and smaller. Speaking to some of the protesters by phone, you could tell that there was a lot of uncertainty and reluctance to go back out there.

As brutal and vicious as these crackdowns were, they were effective based on the past four days in suppressing some of the protests.

As far as my job goes, it was very difficult not being able to report. But we had many eyes and ears on the ground. There was a lot of reports coming in to CNN that there were protests here in this major square and we did our best to confirm them as often as we could.

COOPER: Right. Just ahead: Iran's response. We'll hear from the Iranian ambassador to Mexico. CNN talked to him today. His take on the unrest in the streets and the protesters' demands just ahead.

Also incredible video. A 4-year-old boy and a very close call, our "Shot of the Day" coming up.


COOPER: Before the break, you heard Reza Sayah describe what he saw himself in the streets of Tehran before returning to America. He's been our eyes and ears on the ground since the story broke.

According to official figures, 17 people have been killed in clashes with government forces over the past 11 days. CNN has received unconfirmed reports of as many as 150 deaths.

Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri is the Iranian ambassador to Mexico. He agreed to an interview today with CNN's Rosemary Church.


MOHAMMAD HASSAN GHADIRI, IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO (through translator): There was an election in Iran. In this election, 85 percent of people participated in this election, and 63 percent voted for the president, and there's a minority that is not happy with this.

In Iran, there is a minority think that there have been the election has been rigged but they have to be able to prove this. All the documentation shows that their claim is incorrect. Of course, the minority has some rights but they have to recognize the right of the majority. They have to understand the majority has won in the elections with documentation and with numbers.

If they want to protest, they have to be able to prove that there was (INAUDIBLE). Three weeks before the election, a study was conducted and showed that Ahmadinejad was going to win. This is what I'm showing you right now. It shows that the vote for Ahmadinejad is twice as much as Mousavi's vote. So the election was done. The majority won.

The minority doesn't want to accept that. So what are we supposed to do? Should we accept what the minority wants? What about the majority?

As long as the demonstrations are peaceful, there will be no clashes. But these demonstrations were illegal. They had no permits. They attacked the people's houses. They attacked banks. They put buses on fire. Do you want the government to just watch and do nothing?

When somebody calls that says -- calls the police and says that they are attacking my house, that they have attacked me that, they are taking my stuff, do you think the government just should stay and say nothing? There is a legal way to oppose and we have asked them to come up with documentation. They haven't been able to come up with any documentations. We have been talking about 10 percent of the vote.

Now when they throw rocks and even have guns. And they have -- mock the (INAUDIBLES); opposition as long as it is done peacefully we'll be fine. But when they start violence, and they want to impose their own opinion over the majority, then we have to take action.


COOPER: You can see more of the interview with the Iranian ambassador to Mexico tomorrow on CNN.

Next President Nixon on abortion: his own words just reveal -- what he said is going to shock you. Including his views on what should happen to fetuses of interracial couples.

And one very lucky little boy: we're going to show you what happened in this video. It is our "Shot of the Day."


COOPER: Still to come, shocking video. A boy hit by a car survives. But first Erica Hill joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, tonight, a former high school football player charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his coach. Authorities in Waterloo, Iowa say Mark Becker walked into the school weight room this morning and with about 20 students looking on, shot Coach Ed Thomas dead. Becker had just been released from a hospital psychiatric evaluation after allegedly vandalizing a home and leading the police on a high-speed chase.

The South Pole doctor who treated her own breast cancer has died ten years after her story began to be known. Dr. Jerri Nielsen Fitzgerald couldn't leave the South Pole station when she found a bump in her breast. She performed a biopsy on it and gave herself chemotherapy with drugs that were choppered in. Dr. Fitzgerald was 57.

Newly-released Watergate tapes reveal President Richard Nixon's now incendiary thoughts on abortion. Those tapes recorded in early 1973 showed he believed abortion was justified in different occasions including interracial pregnancy.

And tennis, not really a contact sport: Today in Wimbledon, Frenchman Michael Llodra running head-on into a ball girl -- ouch. Both of them crashed into the umpire's chair. Luckily, no serious injuries. I think, nobody was hurt -- you can bet she has got a really good story for all of her girlfriends.

COOPER: That's probably true.

Erica, next on "The Shot," a remarkable picture of a young boy and an out-of-control car; you won't believe what happened in this video. You just have to see.


COOPER: Erica time for our "Beat 360" winners. Our daily challenge to viewers; a chance to show up to our staffers with coming up with a better caption for the picture that we put on the blog everyday. That's how it works.

Tonight's picture: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs listen as President Obama gives a news conference just yesterday. So our staff winner tonight is Kay and her caption, "Rahm, crap, there's a camera. I can't play Brick Breaker anymore."

COOPER: What do you think of that?

Our viewer winner is James from Kentucky. His caption: "How much for these pics of Mr. Obama smoking in the Oval Office?"

HILL: Oh, so timely James.

COOPER: James, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.

Also, no evidence I think that he smoked in the Oval Office. Anyway, who knows?

Erica, time for tonight's "Shot:" a young kid's very close call. Take a look at this video. It's just unbelievable, it's from Turkey. Look at the right of the screen. A 4-year-old boy standing at the top of the stairs; suddenly he gets hit by an out-of-control car.

HILL: Crazy.

COOPER: The child falls down the flight of stairs. The boy is ok, though, shaken up. He gets up and runs over to his dad, he's obviously crying but he is incredibly very, very lucky.

Take a look at this.

HILL: That's amazing to me.

COOPER: Unbelievable. The little boy just gets up.

HILL: Totally fine. There I am in the playground.

COOPER: I love it when kids fall and then they look to their parents to see whether they should cry or laugh -- you know, if their parent sort of laughs and sometimes the kids do...

HILL: It's true. You freak out, your kid freaks out.

COOPER: Is that right?

HILL: It is.

COOPER: You can see all the most recent shots at our Web site

Hey, that does it 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now.

I'll see you tomorrow night.