The author and chef Anthony Bourdain has traveled to many corners of the world, and he recently went to Iran. As describes it, “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.” In a CNN blog, he also made some perceptive observations about Iranian culture and society. “What we saw, what we came back with, is a deeply confusing story. Because the Iran you see from the inside, once you walk the streets of Tehran, meet Iranians, is a very different place than the Iran we know from the news. Nowhere else I’ve been has the disconnect been so extreme between what one sees and feels from the people and what one sees and hears from the government.” Iran is a complicated country to understand, one has to travel there many times, learn to speak Farsi, and interact with different classes of people to get an appreciation of Iran and its history.
In an interview with CNN’s Christian Amanpour , Iran”s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif provides a very good argument for why Western countries need to be more flexible with Iran.