Iran Snubs US With Nuke Tour Invites
Russia, China, EU states offered tour of facilities
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2011 3:26 AM CST
Updated Jan 4, 2011 6:56 AM CST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility some 200 miles south of Tehran.   (AP Photo/Iranian President's Office, File)

(Newser) – Russia, China, and several European Union countries have been invited to tour Iran's nuclear facilities later this month—but the US has been snubbed. Diplomats were offered an all-expenses paid visit to Iran's nuclear sites in a copy of the invitation obtained by AP. Iranian officials say the invitations are intended to display Tehran’s "goodwill” concerning its nuclear program.

US officials dismissed the offer, which comes ahead of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program scheduled to take place in Istanbul at the end of this month, as a "clever ploy." The invitation "is not a substitute for Iran’s responsibilities," said a State Department spokesman. "It won’t draw international attention away from the issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program." The European diplomats say that if they accept the invitation at all, it will be after the meetings in Istanbul, notes the New York Times.