Russia's Putin arrives in Iran for nuclear talks

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TEHRAN, Oct 16 (Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin, brushing off the threat of a reported plot to assassinate him, arrived in Iran today for talks focusing on Tehran's nuclear row with the West.

In the first visit by a Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin's in 1943, Putin will meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is fighting calls from Western powers to stop nuclear work that Washington says is aimed at building atomic bombs. Tehran says its intentions are peaceful.

Putin was welcomed at Tehran's Mehrabad airport by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, pictures broadcast by state television showed.

The Russian leader is visiting Tehran to join a summit of Caspian Sea states but Russian officials have said discussion of Iran's nuclear row will be high on the agenda for bilateral talks.

Russian officials had suggested on Monday Putin might not come after a Russian news agency reported a plot to kill him during his visit. Putin said he would come anyway.

Iran dismissed the report of any assassination plot as an effort by Tehran's enemies -- a reference to Western powers -- to undermine ties with Moscow.

REUTERS SS AS1122

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