TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran has arrested a man for starting a rumour that Russian President Vladimir Putin risked being assassinated during a landmark visit to Tehran in October, newspapers reported on Wednesday.
“The person who had made up the rumour of the possibility of Putin’s assassination on his trip to Tehran was identified and arrested,” the Kargozaran newspaper said.
The individual, arrested a week ago, was “a contract employee of a telecommunication company”, it said, quoting a report by the Fars news agency which cited an informed source.
No further details were given about the individual or how the rumour was spread.
Putin branded the report of an assassination plot against him as an attempt to “wreck” his mid-October visit to Iran, which was the first by a Kremlin chief since World War II.
There was initially speculation that Putin would stay away from Iran after the rumour emerged but the visit went ahead.
Iran dismissed the rumour as an attempt by its enemies to damage relations between Russia and Iran and hailed the completion of the visit as a major success in the face of US pressures to isolate Tehran over the nuclear crisis.
Some Iranian officials said Putin made a proposal aimed at breaking the deadlock in the nuclear standoff with the West to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei although this was never confirmed by Moscow.