A conservative Iranian Web site called it a hand grenade.
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reports said it was a firecracker. The only certain outcome of Wednesday’s
reports surrounding a possible assassination attempt on Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was that he survived.
Ahmadinejad was reportedly
attacked as his convoy drove toward a sports arena in the town of Hamedan, where
he was scheduled to make a speech.
The source of the attack differed,
according to the various media reporting the incident. The Iranian Web site
Khabaronline.ir said Ahmadinejad had escaped an attempt on his life after a
handmade grenade exploded near his convoy, but Teheran state TV denied the
The semiofficial Fars news agency said a handmade grenade had
been thrown at the path where the president and his entourage had been, but only
after they had left the site.
The government-owned Borna news agency said
somebody threw a firecracker after the convoy had passed, while the semiofficial
Mehr news agency called it a handmade percussion grenade.
A photo from
the semiofficial Isna news agency showed smoke dozens of meters away from the
convoy, which was surrounded by people. It did not elaborate on the source of
Following the incident, Ahmadinejad delivered his speech as
planned, and it was broadcast live on state television.
He made no
mention of an attack, focusing instead on the country’s nuclear
He reiterated his hard line regarding Western demands that Iran
halt its nuclear activities.
“It will be one of your big mistakes if you
think you, resorting to lies and hue and cry, are able to achieve something and
we will give you any concession,” Ahmadinejad said at the Hamedan
One person was arrested in connection with the attack, the Web
site reported, adding that Ahmadinejad’s car had been about 100 m. from the
blast. It said there was no information on whether anyone was
“The explosion caused a lot of smoke,” the report
Press TV, the government’s main English-language broadcast arm,
said an informed source in Ahmadinejad’s office vehemently denied the reports,
insisting that “no such attack had happened.”
popularity at home is waning amid a faltering economy and tightened UN and
Western sanctions over Teheran’s nuclear program, regularly tours the
countryside to deliver speeches to grassroots supporters.
km. west of Teheran, is not known as a restive area but is close to the Kurdish
area of Iran and has witnessed occasional clashes between Kurdish rebels and
security forces over the years.
During another speech on Monday,
Ahmadinejad said that Israel had sent agents to assassinate him, but he gave no
The accusation came a day after another conservative Iranian Web
site, Mashreghnews.ir, reported that security forces had detained a terrorist
group in Teheran that planned to assassinate Iranian officials. It linked the
group to Kurdish separatists.
In 2005, bandits reportedly killed a
bodyguard of Ahmadinejad during his visit to the restive Sistan-Baluchistan
province in southeastern Iran. However, the president had left the province
before the attack occurred.
Experts on Iran said they viewed Wednesday’s
attack – or at least the reports of it – as a possible ploy by Saudi Arabia,
whose Al-Arabiya news channel broke the story.
“Ahmadinejad is not
necessarily popular, but this does not appear to be a real assassination
attempt,” Israeli Iran expert Meir Javedanfar, who together with Yossi Melman
wrote a biography of Ahmadinejad titled The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran:
Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran, told The Jerusalem Post on
“It seems that this was a firecracker, and then Al-Arabiya
reported that it was a bomb, and then someone in Iran wrote that it was a
grenade,” he said.
“So, if the Saudis did this on purpose, meaning they
broke the story on purpose and basically jumped the gun, then it could be for
two reasons,” Javedanfar continued.
“One reason could have been to have a
scoop, but the second reason could have been to make Ahmadinejad look
Even though he is unpopular, the Saudis are Iran’s No. 1 enemy
in the Middle East, and they would have an interest in making him look like a
“Let’s look at the facts here,” Javedanfar said. “He was
on his way from an airport to a sports stadium when this happened, but
afterward, he continued on with the speech. If this had been a real
assassination attempt, they would have turned around and taken him back to
“There are of course people who want to assassinate Ahmadinejad
within in Iran,” he continued. “But in terms of whether they can do this, to be
honest, we don’t know. He’s not short of enemies in Iran, but this does not look
like a real attempt.”