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#Grenade

# grenade - Wednesday 4 August, 2010

IRANIAN OFFICIALS have denied that the county’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was attacked by a grenade while on a visit to the western city of Hasmadan.

Newswires had reported the attack earlier this morning, but a spokesperson for Ahmadinejad said the explosion was from a “firecracker.”

“It was a firecracker, and a statement will be released soon,” the source told AFP.

Reports on a conservative website claimed that a hand grenade had exploded next to a vehicle carrying reporters accompanying the president in the western city of Hamedan.

President Ahmadinejad later delivered a live televised speech to locals gathered in a stadium, but he made no reference to the incident.

Returers have said Ahmadinejad – a populist hardliner – has accumulated enemies in conservative and reformist circles in the Islamic Republic as well as abroad.

During a speech in Tehran on Monday, Ahmadinejad said he believed he was the target of an assassination plot by Israel. “The stupid Zionists have hired mercenaries to assassinate me,” he said.

The oil market reacted calmly to the alleged attach with an analyst saying, “people are just waiting to see what this is about”.

Meanwhile the White House has rebuffed an offer by Ahmadinejad for a face-to-face debate on foreign policy with US President Obama.