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Iran faces growing scrutiny from the West over a nuclear programme which Tehran says is intended only for peaceful purposes, such as energy generation and medical research.
The US, Israel and several European countries dispute that, contending that Iran is set on developing nuclear weapons capabilities and calling for Tehran to submit to vigorous inspection by International Atomic Energy Agency monitors.
Diplomatic tensions have sharpened in recent weeks, with the US stepping up sanctions on Iranian oil exports and pressing for tougher international measures, and Iran threatening to close shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation.
Iran, meanwhile, blamed the US and Israel over the death of yet another nuclear scientist in a car bombing this week, the latest in a series of attacks apparently targeting Iranians involved in the nuclear effort.
The following aerial photographs capture some of the most important sites across Iran that lie at the heart of the country's dispute with the UN Security Council: