A German orchestra is to perform this week in Iran in a rare visit by a European ensemble to the country.

The Osnabrueck Symphony Orchestra will play works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Elgar in Tehran Wednesday and Thursday.

The German orchestra is performing in Iran as part of an exchange that saw the Tehran Symphony Orchestra perform last year in Osnabrueck.

As required in Iran, the female German musicians will wear headscarves.

The visit comes at a time of tension between Iran and Western powers, including Germany, over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

Michael Dreyer, head of a music festival in Osnabrueck, said the visit is a very small step in improving relations between the people in Iran and Germany.