Fareed speaks with author and chef Anthony Bourdain about his visit to Iran. Watch the full interview on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN, or watch Bourdain in Iran on Parts Unknown at 9 p.m. ET.
So you did the thing most American negotiators haven't yet done, which is actually go to Iran.
Yes, and an incredible experience. What we saw inside Iran was extraordinary, heartbreaking, confusing, inspiring and very, very different than the Iran I expected from looking at it from afar, from a geopolitical sense or what we read on the news – what we know from that long and very contentious relationship we've had as nations.
What do you think was the most surprising thing to you?
To walk down the street as an American and have total strangers constantly saying, where are you from? America, have you tried our food? Thank you for coming. Just outgoing, friendly, welcoming to strangers, to a degree that we really experience very, very few places – and I'm talking Western Europe and allied nations.
We'd been told to expect that. But you get thrown by it when you face it everywhere. Our producer – it was his birthday and we all went out with our local crew to a very crowded restaurant. Traditional Persian music and Iranian families eating. And someone found out that my producer, it was his birthday. The entire restaurant sang "Happy Birthday" to him and presented him with a cake. It was a very different Iran than I had been led to expect or could have imagined.