(11 Nov 2016) LEAD IN:
More western tourists are visiting Iran after a thaw in relations following last year's nuclear deal.
Iranians are seeing more foreign tourists on their streets a year after the landmark nuclear deal that ended a decade of standoff with the world community.
Home to beautiful mountains, breathtaking historical buildings and priceless artwork it has lots to offer the intrepid holiday maker.
UNESCO, the United Nations culture agency, has 21 sites in Iran on its World Heritage List. They include the ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, the mosques and palace at Meidan Emam of Isfahan and other sites.
Beyond that, local skiers and snowboarders boast of Iran's mountains, while Tehran enjoys a growing modern art scene.
Shiite pilgrims also travel to different sites in the country. In the last few years, Iran reported having around 5 million tourists a year, most coming from Iraq and other neighbouring countries.
Tehran's historical Grand Bazaar, situated in the south, is the largest and most important market in the capital.
Every day thousands of traders and ordinary people come to the bazaar to do business, shopping or just pass through.
Jacques Genevieve Sanchez is a French tourist visiting the bazaar. She came to Iran with her husband a week ago.
She says they started planning this trip years ago but felt now was the right time to finally make that happen.
"(We travelled to Iran) because we thought of the country many, many years ago and it seems to them that it is easiest today because there is a new connection between Europe and Iran and we notice that it's true", she says.
Another tourist is Stefan Moeller from Germany. The businessman chose Iran as a holiday destination for him and his wife and one-year-old son.
Stefan says he has found it an interesting and safe destination despite all the negative publicity it gets.
"European people are afraid about Iran. They think there is war and some bad guys here but it is all nice here. Because it's so funny and you can have a lot of fun without those things that we have in Europe", he says.
However there are lots of Middle Eastern laws here that are worlds apart from life in Europe.
Alcohol is illegal and women are required by law to cover their hair. Homosexuals can also face the death penalty in Iran.
While it may be getting more popular with Europeans, Americans make up less than one percent of tourists.
However despite US travel warnings, an American luxury tour operator is currently promoting a new trip to Iran in May.
Illinois-based Abercrombie & Kent is offering the tour to those willing to take the risk, describing it as the first opportunity to see an Iran opening up to the West after the nuclear deal.
The cost of the 12-day tour starts at 5,600 US dollars.
Iran and America haven't had formal diplomatic relations since the 1979 US Embassy takeover following the country's Islamic Revolution.
The Swiss Embassy currently looks after American interests in the country.
Abercrombie & Kent says that interchange between American tourists and the Iranian people will help bridge the gap between the two nations.
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PAUL FISHMAN We all know you're an Israeli Jew. You know 100 % you're spewing bullshit. Don't hide behind American Nationality. It's clear as day. The opinion of a person such as yourself is completely worthless specially if it's taken from the media with no first hand evidence. Now go fuck yourself.
You think Iranians care about little desert Israel? Iran is Persia. With a culture that far pre-dates any pitiful Semitic religion. Not to mention they have 4 seasons and lots of snow. Nobody cares about what you have to say in Iran.
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