Putin goes ahead with Iran visit despite `assassination plot`
Vladimir Putin was to travel to Tehran late on Monday to take part in a summit of leaders of the Caspian states.
The Reuters news agency quotes the Iranian foreign ministry as describing the reports of the alleged assassination plot as “totally baseless”.
But the Head of the State Duma Security committee says the allegations should not be downplayed.
“I think this information is serious. Russia's been playing an important role in the international fight against terrorism. Everyone knows how tough President Putin is on this matter. We all remember the 9/11 terror attacks and so should pay close attention to such alerts. I hope international special security services will work together and take all measures necessary to prevent the threat,” said Vladimir Vasilyev.
“The fact that this information was received in connection to Vladimir Putin comes as no surprise. As Russia plays a significant role in world politics and has a solid stance on extremism and terrorism. Many such organisations would like to see the president of such a state dead. On this occasion Iran, with its uneasy situation with extremist organizations, is a place where such an assassination attempt could be easily planned,” Gennady Gudkov, Russia’s State Duma Security Committee member, commented.
The State Duma Deputy, Valery Dyatlenko, explains reports about possible attack on the President are meant to escalate the situation around Iran and disrupt relations between the two countries.
“The situation around Iran is not an easy one. There are opposing opinions on further steps needed to settle the issue. The stance over Iran has somewhat soften lately, especially, after the French President's trip to Russia. But still there are conflicting standpoints in assessing the situation in Iran and finding a solution. That's why it's realistic that some forces are keen on creating tensions around Putin's visit to Iran. When heads of states meet on a regular basis, they can always resolve issues diplomatically. If no talks are held, no meetings are taking place and use of force becomes a viable solution,” Mr Dyatlenko said.
Previous assassination plots
Vladimir Putin has been the target of a number of assassination plots since becoming President.
One attempt to kill him was averted in February of 2000, when he was attending the funeral service for the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak.
In 2001, the Azeri security services foiled an attempt on Putin's life during an official visit to Baku. Local police arrested an Iraqi man, who they said was plotting the assassination.