CNN: Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran Tuesday morning for a visit that is expected to include discussions about Iran’s nuclear program. TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) — Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran Tuesday morning for a visit that is expected to include discussions about Iran’s nuclear program.
The Russian leader was greeted by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as he stepped off his plane at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport.
Putin’s trip was delayed by one day amid reports of an assassination plot against him, although a spokesman would not confirm the reason for the delay.
During a news conference Monday after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Wiesbaden, Germany, Putin said rumors of an attempt on his life would not stop his plans.
“Of course I will travel to Iran,” Putin said. “If I reacted to these kinds of rumors every time, I could never leave the house.”
Iranian officials denied there was an assassination plot against Putin, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman describing rumors of a possible terrorist action during the Putin visit baseless.
“Spreading this kind of totally false news lacks any value and cannot damage the trend of the prepared programs,” spokesman Mohammadali Hosseini told the Iranian FARS news agency.
Hosseini blamed the rumor on Western media, particularly the U.S. media, saying the report was “made up by the enemies of relations between Iran and Russia to create a psychological war.”
Iran’s report accused “White House sources” of trying to “warn Russia not to get too close to Iran even to resolve the remaining issues” regarding various nations’ rights in the Caspian Sea.
Putin’s visit is the first by a leader in the Kremlin to Iran since Joseph Stalin’s World War II conference meeting with U.S. President Franklin D, Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1943.
Russia is building Iran’s first nuclear power plant and has resisted the push by the U.S. and its allies for stronger U.N. sanctions against Tehran.
“Putin’s trip to Tehran is a show of Russia’s independence in global affairs. Putin, who approaches the end of his term, wants to demonstrate that he wouldn’t cave in to the U.S. pressure,” said Alexander Pikayev, an expert on Iran with Russia’s Institute for World Economy and International Relations, in a report carried by AP.
Putin’s schedule called for meetings with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, according AP.
Putin was also due to participate Tuesday in a meeting of the leaders of nations bordering the Caspian Sea, which are arguing over division of its oil.