[en] Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and acetylene (C2H2) are ubiquitous atmospheric trace gases with medium lifetime, which are frequently used as indicators of combustion sources and as tracers for atmospheric transport and chemistry. Because of their weak infrared absorption, overlapped by the CO2 Q branch near 720 cm−1, nadir sounders have up to now failed to measure these gases routinely. Taking into account CO2 line mixing, we provide for the first time extensive measurements of HCN and C2H2 total columns at Reunion Island (21° S, 55° E) and Jungfraujoch (46° N, 8° E) in 2009–2010 using observations from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI). A first order comparison with local ground-based Fourier transform InfraRed (FTIR) measurements has been carried out allowing tests of seasonal consistency which is reasonably captured, except for HCN at Jungfraujoch. The IASI data shows a greater tendency to high C2H2 values. We also examine a nonspecific biomass burning plume over austral Africa and show that the emission ratios with respect to CO agree with previously reported values.