Los Angeles Times

Iran had courted Western tourists. After sanctions, it's turning to neighbors

TEHRAN, Iran - Kristina Nemeth was one of the U.S. travelers curious enough about Iran to make the journey.

She went in 2014, part of an influx of Western travelers to the Islamic Republic as negotiations surrounding a landmark nuclear pact pulled the country out of international isolation.

The San Francisco resident recalls an elderly shopkeeper coming out from behind his booth in a Tehran bazaar as she passed. He reached for her hand and spoke: "Americans are welcome in Iran."

After the multination deal's signing in 2015, Iran's tourism industry took off. European airlines resumed flights and international businesses, including hotel chains, sought deals. Iranian officials set the 10-year goal of boosting foreign arrivals fivefold to 20 million.

Then came the U.S.

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