Iran's state news agency said on Wednesday that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the country's president, has made the tour possible.

Rahim Mashaii, the head of Esfandyar, Iran's tourism and cultural heritage organisation, was quoted as saying: "Foreign tourists can visit Iranian nuclear sites, after Dr.Ahmadinejad issued an authorisation ordering this organisation to study ways to do so." 

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.

Possible 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.

"This authorisation has been issued since the Iranian nuclear activities are peaceful"

Rahim Mashaii, the head of Esfandyar, Iran's tourism and cultural heritage organisation

So far, only the United Nations atomic inspectors and reporters have been allowed to visit the sites.

"This authorisation has been issued since the Iranian nuclear activities are peaceful," Rahim Mashaii said.

The authorisation comes amid a growing push from the United States for Iran to appear before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions over its nuclear programme, which Washington alleges masks a weapons drive.