News / Middle East

Iran Denies Attack on President

Iranian state TV is denying allegations an assassination attempt against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took place while he rode in a motorcade.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared to be unhurt, speaking with animation, during a speech in Hamedan, despite reports there had been an earlier attack against him.  

Al Arabiya TV reported someone had thrown a homemade explosive device at Mr. Ahmadinejad's motorcade and a vehicle carrying journalists had been hit.  It also said a source close to the president confirmed the attack.

A conservative website (khabaronline.ir) reported an explosion 100 meters from Mr. Ahmadinejad's vehicle had "caused a lot of smoke."

Iran's official government Press TV quickly denied an assassination attempt, claiming that a journalist with the president had seen a "firecracker" explode.  It also said the president's media office denied there had been an assassination attempt.

Meir Javedanfar of the MEEPAS Center in Tel Aviv has written extensively about Mr. Ahmadinejad.  He says the Iranian president has spoken in recent months of two attacks against his life.

"He claims that there was an attack against him two years ago in Rome and that they tried to assassinate him with x-rays during the World Food Conference, and he said that there was also another attempt against him in Iraq when he visited [last year]," said Javedanfar.

Royal Military College of Canada teacher Houchang Hassan-yari says he is not sure if the assassination reports against Mr. Ahmadinejad are authentic, but that there have been assassination attempts against previous Iranian leaders:

"It is not the first time that such a thing happened, if it really happened," said Hassan-yari.  "When Khamenei was president, he was attacked and he was disabled.  He lost his right hand's functions.  Rafsanjani, when he was president, also mentioned ... attempts against his life."

Hassan-yari also points out that some of President Ahmadinejad's foes are accusing him of inventing plots against his life in order to boost his sagging popularity and to help him out of his mounting domestic political troubles.

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