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S04.E06: Iran

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Anthony Bourdain explores an Iran few Americans have visited since the 1980s -- a country that's complicated and changing.

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You know the crew were like "this is amazing, it will edit into the show so great!" when they were caught in the tower during that crazy wind/sand storm.

 

Unfortunately, Jason Rezaian is still in custody, though has been some hope lately.

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Amazing episode.  I was born in Iran and have no desire to go back due to all the risks and restrictions, so it was nice to see my country and some of the positive things about it (the people, the food!) on TV.  Amazing that Anthony Bordain got to actually enter the country and film in there. 

 

Very sad about Jason Rezaian.   My step-uncle was detained for 2 years for a very silly reason and it took giving the government tons of money to finally get him out.

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What I enjoyed about the show was that I, and I think Bourdain, really got to see how alike we are as people.  I enjoyed the conversation between Bourdain and his hosts, and I thought the the food combinations were amazing.  What a connector sharing food and breaking bread can be! Another thing that I really enjoyed about this particular show was that Bourdain seemed more polite and less of an ass.  I suppose he didn't want to step out of line in ANY way!

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Iran was more modern than I envisioned, but the restrictive laws kind of surprised me. It seems like a pretty scary police state over there.

 

I think what was telling that while on one hand things are a lot more restrictive than Americans would ever stand for, Iran is miles ahead of other Islamic countries when it comes to the rights of women. There were a lot of very assertive, outspoken women in this show. Women who wore makeup and jewelry, were highly educated, colored their hair, socialized, held jobs... contrast this to an old episode of No Reservations where in Saudi Arabia women need special dispensation to hold a job outside the house and only let their hair down (so to speak) behind closed doors. The young woman enjoying a water pipe together was a pretty remarkable image that contrasts sharply with the image that most people hold of Iran in particular and the Middle East in general.

 

I found this episode fascinating because I'd studied Iran rather deeply while I was in college (I was a political science major focusing on the Middle East). There are many countries that we have far more reason to distrust, yet we have normalized relations with so to have this small window opened on Iran (and showing the bad along with the good) was a very valuable thing.

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Iran looks like a fascinating place to visit, and my GOD the food looked mouthwatering. I was hoping he'd have more shots of Esfahan, which I have seen on other TV programs & looks like a stunningly beautiful city, but the filming was mostly concentrated around the mosque. It was nice to see how open, friendly and curious the people there were.  A rare glimpse of a little seen country.

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I forgot to note it when it happened but the White House Correspondent dinner reminded me that Jason Rezain is home.

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