Iran says Putin assassin plot reports "baseless"

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TEHRAN, Oct 14 (Reuters) Iran's Foreign Ministry today dismissed as ''totally baseless'' reports of a plot to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin during a planned visit to Tehran this week.

Russia's Interfax news agency said Russian security services had been told suicide bombers and kidnappers were training to kill or capture Putin during his visit to Tehran on Tuesday, when he is due to attend a meeting of Caspian Sea states.

''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,'' ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said when asked about the reports.

The spokesman said plans for the meeting of the five states that surround the Caspian Sea, which is rich in oil and gas, would go ahead as planned.

''Publishing such false news cannot harm the natural process of planned programmes,'' Hosseini said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told state TV Putin would hold bilateral talks with Ahmadinejad after the summit but gave few details of subjects to be discussed. He appeared to have made the comments before reports of the plot were published.

Iran has accused Western states of launching a ''psychological war'' in a bid to push Tehran to give up sensitive nuclear work which the West says is aimed at making atomic bombs. Tehran denies the charge and says it will not stop.

Moscow has been alarmed by rumours that the United States could launch a military strike against Iran, prompting it to say it will not back further penalties unless the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, says Iran is not cooperating with the agency or proves Iran wants atomic bombs.

Russia has so far backed two rounds of relatively mild sanctions against Iran.

Reuters CS VP0100

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