Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian nuclear facility
Tourists visiting Iran might be able to add an unusual stop-off on their itinerary -- a trip to one of the Islamic republic's nuclear sites at the centre of a standoff with the international community.
The state news agency IRNA reported Wednesday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has given permission for tourists to visit nuclear sites as proof that Iran's atomic activities are peaceful.
"Foreign tourists can visit Iranian nuclear sites, after Dr. Ahmadinejad issued an authorization ordering this organization to study ways to do so," the head of Iran's Tourism and Cultural Heritage Organization Esfandyar Rahim Mashaii said.
"This authorization has been issued since the Iranian nuclear activities are peaceful," he told the agency.
No details were given on the nature of the visits that would be allowed or when it would become legal for tourists to take a trip to one of the facilities.
Checking out a nuclear installationPossible attractions for tourists would include the uranium conversion facility outside Isfahan, the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz or the Islamic republic's first nuclear plant being built in the southern city of Bushehr.
So, having marvelled at Isfahan's magnificent architectural heritage and admired the ruined Achamedian city of Persepolis, a tourist could could find him or herself checking out a nuclear installation.
So far only United Nations atomic watchdog and reporters have been allowed to visit the sites.
The move comes amid a growing push from Western countries for Iran to be hauled up before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions over its nuclear program, which Washington alleges masks a weapons drive.
Iran insists its nuclear program is solely aimed at providing energy for civilians.