Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said a recent offer from Iran to tour its nuclear facilities deserves consideration, but it could not replace international inspections or nuclear talks.
"Of course, such visits cannot in any way be considered a substitute for IAEA inspections. And also, these visits and the group of countries participating in these visits must not be considered a substitute for the talks between Iran and the sextet," Lavrov said.
Iran has invited Russia, China, and Hungary, which currently holds the European Union presidency, to tour its nuclear facilities this month. Other major powers involved in talks on Iran's controversial nuclear program -- the United States, Britain, France and Germany -- were not invited.
The EU has already indicated it will not go. China said today it was unlikely to take up the offer.
Iran has restricted IAEA inspections, while the next round of talks between Iran and the six major powers is set for January 21-22 in Istanbul.
compiled from agency reports