Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's motorcade in Hamadan.… (Stringer/Iran, Reuters )
Reporting from Cairo — Iran denied media reports Wednesday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's motorcade was attacked while traveling in the western city of Hamedan.
Discounting speculation that swept the country, Iran's Press TV said that "an informed source in Iran's presidential office has rejected as false the reports of grenade attack on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some foreign news sources published reports that a grenade exploded near the motorcade of President Ahmadinejad."
Reuters had reported that the president's convoy was traveling from the airport to a sports stadium in Hamedan when a homemade bomb exploded, injuring several people. Ahmadinejad was reportedly not hurt. Reuters, quoting a source in the president's office, said one person had been arrested.
The Iranian conservative news agency Mehr said that "contrary to the negative atmosphere created by some Western media. . .eyewitnesses have stressed that a homemade repercussion bomb exploded far away" from the president's car. The agency added that smoke spread over the area and a number of people had been arrested.
The Dubai-based Al Arabiya satellite channel ÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â‚– citing other reports ÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â‚– said the small explosion was from a firecracker. Ahmadinejad continued to the stadium, where he gave a televised speech to the nation and did not refer to the incident.
Al Arabiya reported that earlier this week the president told a conference that he believed he was "the target of an assassination plot by Israel. 'The stupid Zionists have hired mercenaries to assassinate me,' " he said.
The report of the alleged attack apparently came from a conservative Iranian website and swept across media outlets in the Middle East. The Iranian government quickly denied an assassination attempt and said: "It was a firecracker, and a statement will be released soon."