November 1st, 2014
12:01 AM ET

Bourdain: Iran different from what I could have imagined

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.

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Topics: GPS Show • Iran

soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Reza

    Shame on all of you Iran haters. We persians are the best. Eat your heart out. Long Live Khameinei.

    November 1, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • Gary

      You are religious fanatics.

      November 1, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • Omid

        And you are an ignorant. do yourself a favor and educate.

        November 1, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
      • Sheesh Kebab

        Why don't you go fight the jews instead of kissing their a zz.

        November 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
    • Holly

      you mean Ali Checkeh ie?

      November 1, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • Babak

      It is morons like you that give a bad name to our great country. Everything about Iran is great except its moronic Islamic government of thieves and minority supporters.

      November 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Eileen Schenck

      Would hope that most of us are not Iran haters. I have Iranian friends in the US – but that Government leaves
      much to be desired, permitting the abuse and execution of a helpless woman, and lord knows how many others.
      If the person truly committed a crime, proven by all MODERN methods, so be it. But you know this isn't
      happening, personal attacks for twisted reasons seem to abound. It isn't right no matter how often you try to
      defend it. ACTIONS speak louder than words. And Iranian actions often are highly questionable.

      November 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • Sia

      Shame on you Reza for bringing Khameneie in a piece that is about Iranian people not their dictator! Shame on those supporting this Dictator and all Fanatics in the regime. Shame on those supporting Mesbah Yazdi, Ahmad Jannati, Ahmad Khatami , the Larijani brothers and all those that are building ideology for the regime to stand behind. An ideology brings supporters for it and therefore an opposition against it should work harder to build its own ideology for people to support. You and those supporters are making Iranian people march towards the freedom they deserve more difficult but they will reach there. In future Iran when it is free, I will support your right to praise Khamenie ( if i manage to keep him alive from the hatred of millions) but like your opposition I still will say shame on you and educate the people about your evil plans! In Iran I see, you would be free to preach and I free to open the eyes of or supporters and people to your misconduct and corruption.

      November 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Ramesh

        You iranis are bad people. Khomeini is a piece of s hit.

        November 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • Omid

      I wonder if you are one of those Bibi followers (which sometimes pretend to be American and sometimes Iranian in disguise) to trash talk Iranian, or just simply a home made idiot. either way, you sound lame,

      November 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • Goat Biryani

        S uck my biryani. Ya mulla khomeine ball s ukker

        November 1, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
    • Mike

      That name reminds the world: the USA embassy hostage, hate of any related to the modern and democrat countries, continue war for Eight years, torture of Iranian people , training the terrorists and sending them to the other countries to kill the USA soldiers, making tension in the region, ignoring human rights, arresting and send the journalist and students to the jail......and making the nuclear bomb in the hidden sites....

      November 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
  2. Jb

    Unfortunately the media is responsible for the negative image we have of iran. I guess it's time to correct it.

    November 1, 2014 at 11:20 am |
    • Gary

      It is not media. It is the way Iranians are. Bad people. They took our diplomats hostage. They are funding Hezbollah who are killing us.

      November 1, 2014 at 11:49 am |
      • Lucy

        Iranian people (I'm not talking about the government) are very friendly towards tourists, Whether you're from US or any other country in the world you will be respected and welcomed.

        November 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
      • Babak

        @Gary: I can say that you know just a little about Iran. Current government is Islamic dictatorship that was forcefully put in place with support of the west. At 1979, Carter and west allies set it up in a way so Shah looses power as he was a strong force in OPEC and would refusing to give cheap oil to the west. You can find a video of Regan on YouTube that addresses that in his presidential debate. And unfortunately this moronic government does support Hezbollah but unless you leave in Israel, I am not sure how they are killing you! Nobody is being harmed more by Islamic dictatorship of Iran's government than Iranian people!

        November 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
      • Gary

        @Babak Iranians are just extremist s hiites who are terrorists. They have terrorized their neighbors and they terrorize the middle east.

        They even want to bomb away the jews.

        November 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
      • Sia

        Gary, is your real name Al-garyGoori from wahabistan by any chance? You speak very much like a Wahhabi or Takfiri terrorist! Come down from your stolen Abrams and let's walk and talk like humans.

        November 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • Heath

        I can speak for myself. I am a WASP. You know what is? Yes, Iranians are all terrorists.

        November 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
      • Jan

        Hey Gary – Are you not aware that in 1953 the US and the UK overthrew Iran's democratic government because Iran thought that it had the right to control its oil and not turn their oil over to the US and the UK? Are you not aware that the US installed the brutal and corrupt Shah whose secret police were trained by the CIA and Israel's MOSSAD? Do you know that one of the tortures used against dissidents in Iran by the Shah's police was to put people on a barbecue rack and lower them into the fire? Don't you understand why there was a hatred by some in Iran against the US? How would you like to have been barbequed or perhaps have that done to a member of your family? What is happening in Iran goes back to 1953. The US and the UK had their dirty fingers in Iran and the hostages paid years later. One thing leads to another as they say. The US did dirt to Iran and they wanted to get back at us. You do know too that the US Embassy tried to destroy all their secret papers, many I am sure that implicated the US in the Shah's dirty deeds as well as the dirty deeds of the US. I hold no brief for the government of Iran but it was actions of the US that led to the formation of this fundamentalist government. Iran could still have been a democratic country but the US wanted oil more than it wanted democracy.

        November 1, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • Ramesh

        Nonsense. Iranis are POS

        November 1, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • parviz baghai

        Gary, i do not agree with your comments that Iranians are bad people. I think there are bad people everywhere as in iran or US.there are over a million Iranians in US and they are having the most impact on the life of their host country. They have the highest education of any ethnic group, far above their host country. Unfortunately they have a dreligious dictator ruling them. US has also had some very poor governments . We have not forgotten Bush-cheney presidency and unnecessary war imposed on Iraq with so many American and civilian lives lost.

        November 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
      • Joe

        @Gay Al-Wahhabi al-takfiri,
        I wish you and your IS buddies a very short life. The way you Sunnis behead all those innocent children will come back to haunt you. The Kurds will decimate you and all your IS friends you psychotic murdering POS.

        November 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    • Holly

      Have you seen the faces of beautiful Iranian women disfigured by Mullah's Acid?

      November 1, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Sia

        It is probably not Mullah Acid. The least thing the Mullah regime wants now is to have more trouble with ordinary Iranians at this time. It is more likely Fanatics with their own agenda which one is toppling the government and taking over the regime or a plot to stir the population into some kind of revolt and therefore forcing the regime to act brutal and loose its focus just before the crucial nuclear deadline on Nov 24th. Fortunately the opposition and Iranian people are politically clever enough to identify the real threat at this time and once again step by step push their wish for more freedom and not fall into the trap of both extremists, Fanatics and Iran haters at this crucial time. Towards better Iranian future and a democratic Iran with the force of Iranian people not Iran haters. Iranian people are smart politically and they showed that during both Mogul time and now and they know how to get the most from the worst situation and they have the will to do it.

        November 1, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
      • Jerry Al Khalij

        A dead s hiite from Iran is a good thing. Why? Bcoz they sre all terrorists. They treat women like goats.

        November 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    • Mike

      Iranian were more happier before the revolution that got supported by jimmy Carter and USA brought the radical mullah regime to the power! .
      This corrupted religious regime exported the radicalism Islam to all ME.

      November 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
  3. JEFF

    Surprise. People are wonderful and friendly and governments are hostile and awful.

    November 1, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  4. chri§§y

    Lol awesome sauce! 60 posts without 1 ounce of truth in any of them! At least youre keeping yourself contained on one thread @ tard baby! Making the world a better place! Troll on!

    November 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
  5. Thomas

    We have now let a celebrity chef break ground in Iran , Food the way to ones heart !

    When will the state department and defense department be on dancing with the stars ?

    November 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Julia Child's Life as a Spy ?

    Why do Gourmets make great spy's ?

    Because revolutions start in the kitchen ?

    November 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  7. Philip

    Talking about Iran as if it were Pluto or the moon. We know Iran better than we know our own oceans, btw
    Acting like Iran is some big secret.
    Iran is like U.S. There are decent and industrious individuals and then are are indecent lazy persons. No matter where you go. People who care about themselves and others and people who don't give a rats ass how fat and ugly they have become. And who really couldn't care less about neighbors.

    November 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  8. Gary

    CNN and Anthony Bourdain we see through your propaganda. I have been to Iran and seen how Iranians tortured our diplomats and held them hostage for years. They were ordinary citizens not givernment.

    November 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • Sia

      @Al-Gary from Wahabistan! You are spreading lies again. Even in the turmoil of 1978 (hostage crisis) and the hatred the Iranian revolutionists had against the US diplomats fro their role in 1956 cope they didn't torture the hostages. 3 of the hostages were given mock execution and that stopped as soon as it was found. By the way like any other embassy the US embassy was a spying facility and CIA operatives plenty there. Not that this gives the revolutionists any right to take them hostage and attack the embassy. That was wrong but you are on drugs posting nonsense here.

      November 1, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
      • Jerry Al Khalij

        Another frikkin s hiite goat eatin terrorist. Go beat yourself with sharp objects and bleed to celebrate moharram.

        November 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • Joe

      You only went there to scout for IS. The Kurds will destroy you in Syria and Iraq.

      November 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
  9. Gary

    Iranians treat their woman like s hit. All covered up like a mattress.

    So don't tell me how they are.

    November 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Sia

      @Al-Gari(Goori) from Wahabistan! To Al-Gary the Takfiri terrorist lover! Women in Iran are not treated like what you are used to in your Wahabi land. Their rights are not as men but they are active unlike your beloved Saudi Arabia or other Takfiri and Wahabi infested Islamic land. They make 60% of the universities. They are progressing for more rights as a women are deserved and they are not forced to stay at home or cover from forehead to toes unlike what you are used to in Wahabi land. Just look at a clip of the video above and you notice that. Islam has a lot of holes in Shia and Sunni and patching those holes are a very difficult thing with 1000 years of tradition and political Islam behind it but women in Iran step by step are showing progress.

      November 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • Jerry Al Khalij

        Whst is that hoori goori moori bull s hit ya s hiite terrorist. Ya jew haters. Go tend to your goats. You ain't fooling me ya Iranian murderers.

        November 1, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  10. Heath

    Iranis are S hiites. S hiites are extremists. This is the time......Moharram when they beat themselves with sharp objects and bleed themselves. We all know the terror they spread in the region.

    November 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Heath

    Bourdain is a CIA operative. Just like CNN.
    We see through this farce.

    Get lost.

    And Fareed Zakaria is no better.

    Just notice how they scratch each other's backs.

    November 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • Sia

      Heath explains he is a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP), my apology calling him Wahabi or Takfiri. I wish he was a BEE, he would have been more useful. Takfiri's have something similar to all fanatic beliefs and that is they don't tolerate anyone other than themselves. Good thing about this WASP's are that they have educated people among them but that makes them more dangerous!
      I hope all WASPs turn into BEEs and be useful to all the society not only themselves.

      November 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
      • Ramesh

        I am a catholic. I think iranis are trash

        November 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
  12. Jerry Al Khalij

    CNN and Anthony Bourdain : Don't tell me how pretty my wife is when I know how ugly she is.

    Iranians are bad bad people. Terrorists. They kill all over the world. They are hated all over the region. I can make better rice and kebabs and do can Rachel Ray.

    November 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • Sia

      Jerry Al-Khalij Farsi, GariGoori in Farsi means someone in bad shape it can be given to a Bedouin desert dweller like Gary, Heath and you for sure. Those who decapitate innocent people on TV and those who spread hatred among religions and wish to kill everyone and spread death and destruction in whole region. It was few months you paid terrorists where hiding and not active on the web due to to persistent hunt by anti-terrorist organizations. You had spread to UK and India and posted from there for some time and stopped. I am glad you guys are coming out again and spreading your stupidity. It is time to catch you all and keep you till you get educated, meanwhile help educate and raise the living condition for all in middle east and push for palestinian peace process so you can not bread there anymore. I wish you continue to post garbage so you are caught easier. I wish all success to Indian and other intelligence agencies looking for you terrorists. Amen.

      November 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • Ramesh

        AL Irani al goat raypist. Al khomeinei a zzhole

        November 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
    • Neanderthal


      November 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
  13. Ramesh

    I would never trust any Irani. They are bad people. Smugglers mostly. They sell their daughters.

    November 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • Sia

      @Ramesh your information is incorrect. Give an example of daughters being sold! Family is very important among Iranians even at this time of economic hardship. I bet like every country the statistics for such crime exists but I doubt it is widespread as you claim.we have seen no news of such incidents on media which focuses on Iran.
      It is interesting how like advertisement BOT we see posts with similar content and different names pop out with garbage as their news and false information.

      November 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
      • Ramesh

        I bought one of your girls in Ispahan and freed her in Dubai in safety.

        November 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
      • Joe

        You put too much time into your reply, whereas I doubt he can read, or understand, what you wrote. You probably need to write it in Arabic so this Takfiri understands. Don't waste your time on this uneducated hateful POS.

        November 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
    • Joe

      Is that how you came to be? Your mother was sold to a goat?

      November 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  14. Mark Goldman

    We come bomb your persian a zz if you even think of a nuclear bomb. We will destroy you.

    November 1, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
  15. Allan Kinsman©

    I think that a calm and moderate discussion would be more appropriate.

    November 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
  16. Bo Bernaise

    What would that be in your dictionary? Killing the Palestinians in Gaza? Not.

    November 1, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
  17. LuckyLuke

    "It was a very different Iran than I had been led to expect or could have imagined."

    That's something most westerners say when they visit Iran and that's because your friends in media lie so much about Iran and dig deep

    November 1, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
  18. Bo Bernaise

    Iranis gassed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Shame on Irani murderers.

    November 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
    • LuckyLuke

      You seem to be an ignorant fat Arab, brother. You have also been drinking and smoking junk too much, as you got the history the other way around: It was your Iraqi brothers who cowardly gassed Iranian and the Kurds and they have been paying its price for some years now.

      November 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • Sheesh Kebab

        S ukk my hebrew d ikk. It is kosher sausage.

        November 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • Joe

        He is a takfiri troll changing his name for each reply. Don't waste your time.

        November 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • Jan

      No Bo – You've got it wrong. It was the Iraqis that gassed the Iranians. The gas came courtesy of Uncle Sam. It was Iraq that invaded Iran. It was Iraq that was the aggressor.

      When many of you tar Iranians with the same dirty brush you only show your stupidity and racism. As in any country and in any people there are good and bad. I think that those who are so ignorant as to damn everyone in Iran is either bad or ignorant. I have not been to Iran but I know several Americans who have been there. They had nothing but praise for the Iranian people who were among the most friendly people they had met anywhere in the world.

      Now if you don't want Iran to have the bomb and I don't, the way to stop that is to make the Middle East and the rest of the world nuclear free. And what countries don't want a nuclear free Middle East? You've got it! Israel and the US. Israel, unlike Iran, has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, refused inspection of their nuclear facilities and yet they expect Iran to comply. What hypocrisy on the part of both Israel and the US. Shame on both of them.

      November 1, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
  19. Bo Bernaise

    Bourdain is drug toddling hippy guy doing what CIA wants him to do. Remember CNN recently got him for propaganda.

    November 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
  20. Sheesh Kebab

    These Iranians are medieval folks in my opinion. CNN is trying to package them as something else.

    November 1, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
    • LuckyLuke

      You're right. That's just your damn ignorant opinion.

      November 1, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • Sheesh Kebab

        Go have some curry sheesh kebabs and try to think so that you can develop some semblance of an opinion. Uneducated i diot.

        November 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
  21. Sheesh Kebab

    There is no neighbor they Iranians get along with. Iranians are bad karma. The men talk like fhaggs

    November 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • LuckyLuke

      They get along with the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Azeri's and their northern neighbors just fine. It's you fat-assed oil sucking Arabs with whom they have got problems and 300 million of you imbeciles cannot handle them

      November 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • Sheesh Kebab

        You have no knowledge of that region it appears. So shut up.

        November 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
  22. LuckyLuke

    @Sheesh Kebab. I guess after my comments, your ass feels like Sheesh Kebab.

    November 1, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
    • Sheesh Kebab

      Comments? You can't even write a sentence. Lol
      I have a BIG sheesh kebab ready to slide up your azz. Extra poblano chile

      November 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
      • LuckyLuke

        Sorry brother. I mistook your small Jewish ass for a big Arab hole. I only like kosher holes.

        November 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
  23. Sheesh Kebab

    Imam Khomeini is a pimple on Netanyahu's balls.

    November 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
  24. Sheesh Kebab

    Shah of Iran was an American pimp.

    November 1, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
  25. Sheesh Kebab

    Iranians are phaggy people

    November 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
    • LuckyLuke

      I know your troll hole has an itching for something big. But why not apply a simple ointment brother? It would be less painful dear.

      November 1, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
      • Joe

        Its filled with something that a simple ointment wont cure.

        November 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
  26. soliman

    long live Iran and long live Islamic republic
    go head Iran
    their hostility with us government is because they are really good people and us is really devil

    November 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
    • LuckyLuke

      Long live Iran but f*** the Islamic Republic of Butchers and murderers.

      November 1, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
  27. Goat Biryani

    Iranians understand only one thing.... Threats from Israel.

    November 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  28. Goat Biryani

    A bunch of carpet weaving nomads. Goat herders.

    November 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • LuckyLuke

      Before spewing worthless ignorance over here, go and have some readings. It would be a better time spent brother.

      November 1, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
  29. Zoroaster

    Khomeini and his fellow iranians are a piece of trash. They stink like s hit.

    November 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
    • LuckyLuke

      I bet his ass smelled better than you or Goat Biryani or Sheesh Kebab or whatever the f***ing name you want to troll under.

      November 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  30. Mike

    I'm wondering why USA try to lift the sanctions without closing of restricted Nuclear bomb sites like Fardo, Parchin or in Tehran Pasdaran street?!!!
    Any agreement with liar Iran islamic Regime (= isis Shia government) that keep the centrifuges running would be a null agreement.
    Putting more sanctions work the best.

    November 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
    • LuckyLuke

      Go and get your basic facts right before splashing BS here. IAEA and even the US intelligence community do not belief Iran is currently pursuing a nuclear option or has pursued in the last decade for that matter. Iran even does not have 20% enriched uranium any longer. So where the hell did you come up with the "nuclear bomb site" label, bro?!! Putting on more sanctions is what the hardliners in Tehran want and are vying for. Your ignorance will force them to acquire the bomb and your guys will not be able to do a god-damn thing. If you have any serious and real sense you would argue for negotiations. The other routes all end in catastrophe.

      November 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
      • Mike

        bro, why they do not open all the atomic sites to the un inspectors?
        Why they insisting of enriching?
        Why they do explosion Nuclear test?
        Why they spent billion of dollars to make all those sites?

        November 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
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