December 16th, 2014
06:58 PM ET

A portal to Iran

For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

When I went to Tehran in 2011 to interview then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, relations with the U.S. were at a low, and distrust between the two nations was at a high. So it was unsurprising that Iran's leader played to type perfectly, spouting nasty rhetoric when he sat down with me.

What was surprising was the stance of the ordinary people – Iranians on the street, in cafes, at my hotel – who expressed an admiration for America and an interest in improving relations across the board.

But not everybody gets the chance to travel to Iran and meet the locals as I did. Well, we found the next best thing. Inside an art gallery in downtown Manhattan sits a large, golden box. It may look like a fancy shipping container, but enter and you'll discover it is actually a "portal" to Iran.

The artist Amar Bakshi, a former GPS producer, set up a web-connected camera in New York and partnered with an artist to do the same in Tehran, enabling face-to-face conversations between people who would not otherwise meet. Despite being 6,000 miles and a world apart, participants can easily slide into conversation with each other about their daily lives. Some even demonstrate their passions, like this dance.

I went into the portal and spoke with several Iranians about their lives and their country and how they see the U.S. Perhaps President Obama and Rouhani should meet this way – call it a diplomatic dance.

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Topics: Iran • Last Look

soundoff (369 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    Ok well if y'all caught onto my clue ill be checking back shortly!

    January 7, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  2. chri§§y

    Lol and STILL no one caught on. Smh.

    January 8, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  3. Kevin

    Iran is playing a game that will go down in history as a stupid and irrational attempt to turn a tin pot country into a major world power. In the end, Iran will find an outcome that will be tragically less than what they expect. The U.S. is ready to deal with them, if they do not accept the terms of the U.N. Demands! They do not realize that they will be subject to a a military response that will be quick, severe, and devastating. They do not understand that the U.S. is committed to dealing with a terrorist state that is sticking a finger in the eye's of the civilized nations. Iran has had the world stage, with the religious leaders faces in the media. It is all going to change, and the civilized world will be better for it!

    July 14, 2015 at 3:10 am | Reply
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