Assassins plot to kill Putin in Iran: Report

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Moscow, Oct 15: Russian special services have been warned of a plot to assassinate President Vladimir Putin when he visits Iran on Tuesday, Interfax news agency said today. Iran's Foreign Ministry dismissed the report as totally baseless and intended to undermine Russian-Iranian relations. Interfax said Russian security services had been told that suicide bombers and kidnappers were training to kill or capture Putin during this week's historic visit, which will be watched closely in Washington and other Western capitals.

''A reliable source in one of the Russian special services, has received information from several sources outside Russia, that during the president of Russia's visit to Tehran an assassination attempt is being plotted,'' the report said.

''A number of groups of suicide bombers are preparing for this aim.'' Interfax quoted Kremlin sources as saying they had no comment on the report, but that the president had been informed.

Putin, who will be the first Kremlin chief to visit Iran since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin went in 1943, will formally be in Tehran for a summit of Caspian Sea states.

'Pyschological War'

But a meeting planned with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could give Putin a chance to seek a peaceful compromise over Tehran's nuclear programme and to demonstrate his independence from Washington on West Asia issues.

Western governments' relations with Russia have been tested in recent months by disputes over missile defences and differences over how to handle Tehran's nuclear programme. The West is eager to impose tougher sanctions on Iran to curb a programme it suspects is aimed at obtaining nuclear weapons.

Russia is less inclined to further sanctions. Iran insists research and development are purely for peaceful purposes.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini dismissed the report by Interfax, Russia's largest news agency and often used by the Kremlin and government insiders as a means of communicating their message.

''Reports published by some media are totally baseless and are in line with the psychological war launched by enemies who want to harm Iran and Russia's relationship.''

Reuters>

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