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tv   Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown  CNN  November 6, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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the pee pocket is a single use waterproof funnel that allows women everywhere the remarkable advantage to relieve themselves while standing. >> sure, who doesn't want to relieve themselves while standing. did we actually get a pitch for that? i don't even hear about these things. the point is, i'm probably not going to do the interview of the pee pocket, though it seems like an intriguing product. blasting out press releases is not going it make it happen. if you want to be on tv, it is simple. whatever you're promoting, make a cutout of lisa kudrow and get her to record a personalized message about your thing. that's how you get the attention of the ridiculist. that does it for us. "anthony bourdain parts unknown" starts now. ♪
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♪ i am so confused. it wasn't supposed to be like this. of all of the places, of all the countries, all the years of traveling, it's here in iran that i am greeted warmly by total strangers. the other stuff is there, the iran we read about, heard about, seen in the news. but this -- this i wasn't prepared for. ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my
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shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha, la, la, la, la ♪ sha, la, la, la, la ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la ♪
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♪ >> thank you. let's eat. >> good to be here finally. it's taken some time. like a lot of time. like four years i've been trying. finally. >> tehran. city of nearly 8 million people. capital of iran. like their neighborhoods of rome this feels like. after all of this time i finally have my chance to see a country i heard so much about. weather is nice. i don't know what i was expecting. it is nice. a big blank spot on nearly every traveler's resume. >> let's eat. delicious. thank you.
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once upon a time there was an ancient kingdom where they found a lot of magical black stuff under the ground. but two other kingdoms had the key to the magical black stuff. and when they wouldn't share. the people of the ancient kingdom got mad. they voted and their leader said the magical black stuff is ours to keep. but the other kingdoms were afraid of losing all of the magical black stuff so they gave money to some bad men to get rid of the leader. they put back in power another leader. and they gave him money too. to some he was a good king. but to others he could be very cruel. after many years the people of
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the kingdom got mad. this time even madder. so they scared the king away forever. and then things started to get really messed up. >> okay. that's a simplistic, incomplete way to sum up 100-odd years of iranian history. the point is there were a lot of issues and differing agendas leading to the explosion of rage known as the iranian hostage crisis. look, we know what iran the government does. george w. bush famously called them part of the axis of evil. their proxies in iraq have done american soldiers real harm. there is no doubt of this. but i hope i can be forgiven for finding these undeniable truths hard to reconcile with how we are treated on the streets everywhere we go. so forget about the politics if you can for a moment.
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how about the food? the food here is amazing. kabob, as close as you get to the national dish and the king of kabobs. ground lamb with spices, a good place to start. so what do you guys do for a living? >> i export nuts. >> i am a curator of contemporary art. >> an exploding scene here? >> a different culture. iranian and islamic culture. it has changed a lot during the last decade. so this is the actual menu. i would recommend you to try this one. and this one. and this one. >> okay. >> why not? >> kabob wouldn't be complete without persian rice.
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fluffy, long grained, perfectly seasoned with saffron, the rice in this country is unlike anything you have ever had. >> tony, first you should take the butter and put it on your rice. bon appétit. >> bon appétit. >> it's good. >> it was a hopeful time when i arrived in iran. a window had opened. there had been a slight loosening of restrictions. there was optimism for a deal that could lead to an easing of crippling economic sanctions imposed because of iran's continued nuclear program. trade restrictions very, very
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difficult for everyone. but there is a push happening between opposing factions in the government. on one hand, iranians have been descendants of ancient per shah. empire of poetry. flowers, the highly influential culture that goes back thousand of years. but the ruling clerical and military class are at best ambivalent and at worst actively hostile to much of the tradition. so, the religious based restrictions of speech, dress, behavior were ushered in by the rise of the ayatollah during the 1979 islamic revolution.
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♪ ♪ so how does one have fun in iran these days. this is the line that is constantly being tested. alcohol is of course forbidden. you can get away with listening to rock or rap. sort of. sometimes. but you cannot yourself rock or be seen to visibly rock. ♪
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not everyone in iran is delighted with what their country has become since the revolution. but even insinuating discontent can have consequences. protesters, dissidents, journalists have simply disappeared into the national security system. >> huh? >> local military crew. ♪ we are in the northernmost land of tehran, up here the road stops and it gets really steep.
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the place for iranians to escape the heat, escape the pollution. and have a kabob. and just kind of unwind. >> as print journalists our job is difficult, but also kind of easy. because there is so much to write about. you know it, the difficult part is convincing people on the other side of the world that what we are telling, we are seeing in front of our eyes is actually there. when you walk down the street you see a different side of things. people are proud. the culture is vibrant. people have a lot to say. >> jason rasign is "the washington post" correspondent for iran, his wife and fellow journalist works for uae based newspaper "the national." jason is iranian/american. and his wife, a full iranian. this is their city, tehran.
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the official attitude towards fun in general seems to be ever-shifting. is fun even a good idea? >> a lot of push and pull. a lot of give and take. when i first started coming here you wouldn't hear pop music in a restaurant or -- >> now it is everywhere. >> we have police they arrest girls or women for having -- not being covered enough. it know it that we live with the police in our head, you know. >> one of the first things that people will say when you say, i'm going to iran. yeah, but don't they make women do this, this and this? >> actually -- not so much, not as much as our friend. compare and contrast, women aren't allowed to drive in saudi arabia. >> that's right. >> or vote. >> you can drive. you can vote? >> yeah, of course.
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of course. >> my sister is an accountant. she has her own company. girls are allowed to do almost everything, except if you want to go and watch football. >> can't watch football? >> we cannot. >> women's issues are often at the spear point of change or possible change here. on one hand, prevailing conservative attitudes demand certain things. on the other hand. iranian women are famously assertive, opinionated. a striking difference from almost everywhere else in the region. >> so why are we so friendly with the saudis again? >> great question. really good question. >> i'm happy that you asked that question. >> do you like it? are you happy here? >> look, i am at a point now after five years where -- i miss certain things about home. i miss my buddies.
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i miss burritos. i miss having certain beverages with my buddies and burritos. certain types of establishments. but i love it. i love it. i love it and i hate it, you know. but it's home. it's become home. >> are you optimistic about the future? >> yeah. especially, if it finally happens. yeah. very much, actually. >> despite the hopeful nature of our conversation, six weeks after the filming of this episode, jason and his wife were mysteriously arrested and detained by the police. sadly in iran, this sort of thing is not an isolated incident.
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[ horns honking ] >> what is okay to film in iran and what is not? what is okay to the friendly, to us, ministry of guidance might not be for the besiege, essentially, roving young, militias. despite permits and paperwork in order we are detained for several hour. this sort of harassment is a daily part of life for iranians. >> just turn it off right now.
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>> bye-bye. >> i'm so glad to be here. hello. >> people have been ridiculously nice to us. aren't you supposed to be the axis of evil. >> you are right. we are demonized by the media outside. show black and white. people are demonstrating, killing, bombing. this and that. you never talk about the real people. who are living peacefully inside the country. you know? and eventually in the future of the world. we americans have a very special place in this, you cannot play a game without considering iran as a friend. >> one of his passions is ancient persia and he is writing a book. >> how do you pronounce the specialty? >> name of the pot. >> earthenware. >> the dishes.
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it goes back to mesopotamia. 6,000 years ago. >> potato, chick peas, water. lamb. cooked together. add a little fat. mash it up with potatoes, chick peas. that's good. what do iranians want to eat today? >> it is a home cooking culture. >> yes. we didn't hatch the culture of eating out. this is a culture of sacred foods in the house. things are unheard of. it's not in the book. >> that is really interesting. >> have you ever tried iranian food? >> it is difficult. because everybody says the great food of iran is cooked in people's homes. >> yes. >> this is a land of secret recipes.
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passed down within families like treasured possessions. >> beautiful spread of food. >> she is my wife. i am a really lucky man. she is very good cook. >> like many iranians he has been kind enough to invite me to his home. >> this is milk and chicken soup. >> it is really good. >> my mom said that iranian people loves guests. and they will never get tired if the guest likes their food. >> a stew of fried chicken, onion, ground walnuts, pomegranate, and tomato paste. >> fruit. some kind of fruit. >> yes, dried apricot inside. >> delicious. so good. >> these are very sophisticated, very time consuming dishes to prepare.
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always from scratch and always in excess of what you could need. you tend to kill your guests with kindness around here. >> that dish is from the south of iran. >> from the persian gulf? >> yes. >> this one is from north. >> maybe if i could try some? >> yes. thank you. >> of course. >> that one, we made it with beans, meat. >> it's so good. >> mm, fantastic food. >> men and boy, both of them working. >> it's hard to do something like this. that's what i'm waiting. crispy rice at the bottom. what is it called? tariq? >> exactly. my mom and my mother think if they have a guest they have to at least two or three kind of foods.
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if they make just one they thing it is not very polite for a guest. now they set the example for my generation. that i have a guest i will just make one food. one appetizer. one dessert. >> you know why? >> because it is much easier. your data, our insights. introducing synchrony financial, bringing new meaning to the word partnership. banking. loyalty. analytics. synchrony financial. engage with us.
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times have changed. pre-1979 tehran was party central. with iran's revolution, 2500 years of monarchy was over. the supreme leader, ayatollah khomeini's word became more or less -- law. today hundreds of thousands of iranians are bused to his enormous shrine from all over the country. ♪ the national holiday, khomeini died on this day, and his funeral attended by 10 million iranians.
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[ chanting ] >> don't want to miss the bus. ♪ south of tehran, the landscape opens up. only 300 miles of iranian highway stretching to the city.
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it is iran's third largest city. half the world, the saying, went back to when this was capital of persia and beyond. the city is renowned for the architecture, grandest bridges and mosques dating back to the middle ages. usa. from america. where are you from? tehran? >> tehran. nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you too. >> thank you very much. it's very beautiful.
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i'm guessing from the decor this is a former wrestler's hangout? ♪ >> tucked deep in the labyrinth of the bazaar, the smell of something, very, very good. this shop has been here doing the same thing for 100 years. and based on the line it must be doing it right. i had it in india. i had it in uzbekistan.
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there is no question who invented it. >> no. >> maybe you know the word, though this doesn't look like any berjani i have ever had. minced lamb shoulder, onion, turmeric, mint, and of course, saffron. more valuable than gold by weight. >> this is delicious. >> very good. >> is tehran today one of most visited areas by tourists. >> if you come to iran and you don't visit, you are wasting your time. ♪ the royal mosques, the second largest square in the world behind tiananmen square in china. at dusk families come to the
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square to cool off, picnic, and have, yes, it looks like even a little bit of fun.
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>> morning prayer in the city. [ chanting prayers ] >> across town the bridge where men gather spontaneously to sing.
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is this okay this impromptu giving oneself over to the creative urge to stand and sing out to no one in particular. maybe, but not okay apparently to film. gotta go. the road back to tehran. along the way, reminders of just how far back this culture goes. the ruins of ancient caravans, highway rest stops from when armies, merchants, traders traveling by camel by foot all
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passed along these same routes. this right here a stop on what was once the silk road extending all the way to china. ♪ in this part of the world, whatever your background, bread is a vital, essential, fundamental and deeply respected staple. and mornings in tehran countless bakeries like this one turn out as much as they can.
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it smells good in here. standing in line is a daily part of life for many iranians. they bake these things on small stones. gives it the textures. >> that's why it is called -- stone, pebble. >> in years since the '79 revolution, iranians have weathered wars, foot shortages, sanctions that have caused the economy to sputter. >> so i am going to make you a small table, right. >> he is kind enough to take me for breakfast. >> awesome. >> it is made from bulgur wheat? >> yes. you know what is inside the wheat? it is meat. it is turkey. this its a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. that's good. >> you like? >> yeah, the spread is amazing.
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you were how old when the war with iraq started? >> i was 7. >> iraq attacked and it was a surprise attack. iran's eight year long war with saddam hussein's iraq is deeply, deeply felt. hundreds of thousands of iranians many of them children died fighting in that conflict. >> were you afraid? >> we were afraid. my father was -- in the front. for three years of eight. it was not just my brother. many young people like him. eight years. and with a country that its supported by many big powers. >> it is worth mentioning whatever you think, wherever we are now, that saddam supported by the u.s. government and with our full knowledge used sarin and mustard gas on hundreds of thousand of iranians. less known in america, known and
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felt by everyone in iran. and it was a mistake of the united states at the time. made a bad memory for iranians. still people are indeed really, really nice here. >> because people here don't hate americans. you had a coup. and then a revolution everything. and then you captured the embassy. and we didn't have a real fight. so it can be political misunderstanding which is the result, which will be result, resolved, maybe, i hope.
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♪ >> so far, iran does not look and does not feel the way i had expected. neither east nor west, but always some where in the middle. >> well it looks spectacular. >> you can't have this in the restaurant. it is time consuming.
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it is very expensive. persian cuisine has to be experienced in somebody's home. >> thank you. >> so this one here is -- >> slow cooked lamb in yogurt? >> yogurt, saffron and egg yolks. >> a prominent art gallery owner insisted i come over for lunch with her friend and family. >> here we have sour cherry rice. maple. chicken. >> sour cherries. more than any other, sour cherries. >> the cook has been with the family for generations. rice mixed with yogurt and saffron baked into a crispy dough. don't think of rice as a side dish around here. it can be the main event. >> okay. very, very good. >> you put far more on the -- table than any one can conceivably eat. >> yes. >> if you don't like your
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guest, you don't put anything. >> here we have a large meatball. >> ground beef, onion, and cooked rice. walnuts, dried apricots, boiled egg and barberries. >> anyway, we are a very interesting nation. >> very confusing. >> extremely confusing. >> the contradictions are just. >> enormous. >> enormous. >> iranians we take into our house, and our hearts. in that way we are extremists in so many ways. >> you see this tortured relationship between america and iran for many years. how do you think most americans will react when they see this? >> they will start coming. >> it is very important as iranians, that we are seen as humans here, not the so-called enemy or the darkness of iran.
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like you go to anybody's house in iran i am sure they will welcome you. >> the axis of evil. we are not the axis of evil. just normal evil look everybody else. >> ten years ago iran was, people they had hope for future, young people. they wanted to travel. had a little bit of money. because of sanction. this sanction really squeeze everybody. eight years, no foreign investment here. and so it was very difficult so it was very difficult time. i mean the population is very young. 70% are under 35. and the thing is they deserve much more than they have now. they want to have good jobs. they want to have foamilies. it is not possible for them. >> i hope we can have more faith
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in the ordinary americans, because every little change in the policy of the western country, it really, really affects our lives here. the tower, iran's tallest building and a symbol of national pride. it rises 1,000 feet in the air and looks out at all of tehran and beyond. ♪ >> we're out on the observation deck, taking it all in, trying to make some sense of it all. our time in iran is coming to an end, and it was impossible to say, was a window opening? or was it only a moment in time before it shut again?
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you learn pretty quickly, that in iran, there is plenty of gray area. an undefined territory. where is the line? it seems to change with barely a moment's notice. >> okay. here it comes. ♪ >> this is the first time that we have experienced such thing. >> stay away from the glass. >> please come this way. please follow me. this way. [ drums ] >> please stop filming.
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last day in iran. night falls, act kids, like kids anywhere, get in their rides and head for somewhere they can hang out. it's amazing, all these american classics here. where do you get them? >> old men's, old people's yards. >> and then fix them up? >> yeah. >> mustang?
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[ engine revving ] >> camaro. >> camaro. >> firebird. >> pontiac. that's a perfect l.a. car right there. is this a car club or people just come? >> hang out this way. it's our friends. >> i called out for a little delivery. one last thing everyone's been telling me i have to try. iranian take-out pizza. it comes with catsup. >> what do you think about iranian pizza? >> not bad. we don't put catsup on pizza, though. >> i love catsup. >> i spent my youth doing this, hanging around in the parking lot.
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♪ let's assume the worst. let's assume that you cannot see any way to reconcile what you think of iran with your own personal beliefs. you just generally don't approve. >> yeah. >> i think those are exactly the sort of places you should go. >> totally. >> see who we're talking about and where we're talking about here. >> i think it's almost un-american not to go to those places, you know? >> i don't know that i can put it in any kind of perspective. i feel deeply conflicted, deeply confusing, exhilarating, heartbreaking, beautiful place.
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>> yeah. exactly. ♪ [ horn honking ] [ engine revving ] [ tires squealing ] >> american cars are crazy. >> american cars are crazy, and they're fun. [ tires burning ] >> all i can tell you is the iran i've seen on tv and read about in the papers, it's a much bigger picture. let's put it this way, it's complicated. [ laughter ] [ laughter ] >> after ten weeks, they were finally released. but as i read these lines, jason remains a prisoner. his future, the reasons for their arrest are still unknown. >> one, two, three. >> thank you, guys. >> thank you. >> we'll see you.
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this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. you saw parts unknown as anthony bourdain goes inside iran. he is here with me. despite antagonism between the two countries were you surprised really at how friendly everyone was there to you? >> very confused by it. i mean literally under the mural that says "down with america" people, everyone, reaching out. outgoingly friendly. where are you from? america. oh. you know? have you tried this? will you come to my house? thwill feed you.


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