It took 60 Minutes producers Michael Karzis and James Jacoby more than a year to get their hands on visas to travel to Iran on a reporting trip for the broadcast. But when the producers finally arrived in Tehran, they were surprised by how freely they were allowed to do their work.
Karzis and Jacoby spent eight days roaming the streets with correspondent Steve Kroft, taking the pulse of the city through interviews with day-laborers, merchants, families, students, entrepreneurs, and anyone who stood up and had something to say. (The producers shot a video-diary of their trip, which can be viewed in the video player above.)
"It was unbelievable," says Karzis. "Five people would turn into 15 people, into 40 people, into 55 people. And then Steve would be in this scrum."
"The Iranians feel as though they rarely get their voice heard," says Jacoby. "And so everybody in the streets wanted to congregate around Steve to talk in great granularity about the details of the nuclear deal or their grievances with the U.S. support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war."
Kroft was surprised by the reaction of ordinary Iranians when he stopped them on the street. "Most these people haven't seen American journalists in more than 30 years, and I think that they really wanted to talk-- to speak their mind to an American. It wasn't hostile."
"The place is just totally charged up," says Jacoby. "There's a palpable sense of an historic moment going on there right now. Our governments are talking officially, and notably, for the first time, really, in 35 years-- and it was really exciting to people."
"I came back more optimistic," says Kroft. "I don't think that the Iranians are ready to become or want to be our friends--our best friends. But I don't think they wanna be bitter enemies."