Iran has denied reports that its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had faced an assassination attempt on Wednesday during a visit to the western Iranian city of Hamedan.
State-run Press TV quoting an “informed source” in the Presidential office said that reports of a grenade attack on Mr. Ahmadinejad were “false”. Iran's Arabic language Al Alam television network said that firecrackers had been set-off to cheer the President during his visit to Hamedan.
However, the Iranian website Khabaronline had earlier reported that an explosion in Hamedan took place as the President was proceeding to deliver a public speech. The report added that a man suspected of throwing the grenade had been arrested.
The website said the blast happened near a mini-bus ferrying correspondents who were accompanying the President. “The car of the President was 100 metres ahead of the blast and nothing happened to him,” it added. “No casualties have been reported,” the website observed.
The alleged attack follows Mr. Ahmadinejad's assertion earlier this week that Israel was plotting to assassinate him. Addressing Iranian expatriates during the course of a conference, he had said the Israelis had “hired mercenaries to assassinate me”. Last year, Iran’s Intelligence Minister had accused Israel of conspiring to assassinate Mr. Ahmadinejad during the presidential election campaign.
According to the Associated Press, Wednesday’s reported assassination attempt follows last month's killing of at least 21 persons, including members of the elite Revolutionary Guards, resulting from two suicide attacks on a Shia mosque in Zahedan, in southeast Iran. The rebel group Jundollah had then claimed responsibility for the attack, citing it as retaliation to the June execution of its leader, Abdolmalek Rigi.
During his address in Hamedan, which was broadcast live, Mr. Ahmadinejad condemned some Iranians, who he said were collaborating with the "enemies of Islam and the nation", in hatching conspiracies,
IRNA reported. Commenting on the recent sanctions, Mr. Ahmadinejad said that Iran ignored these restrictions as its citizens were determined to build their country on their own, without foreign assistance.