Vladimir Putin will go ahead with his planned visit to Tehran despite reports in the Russian press that sources have warned about an "assassination plot" against him there. Oh, please. The tightly controlled Russian media lets it be known that Putin is somehow in danger, then Putin bravely goes forward with his plans? Gee, what stinks about that little scenario?
"Of course I am going to Iran," Putin told a news conference after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "If you react to various threats and recommendations of the security services, then you should sit at home."
Kremlin officials had earlier said plans for Putin's visit were in doubt after a Russian news agency reported, quoting a single unnamed security source, that plotters were planning to assassinate Putin in Tehran.
Putin's visit to Iran, the first by a Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin went in 1943, has drawn intense interest because of Russia's role as a mediator in six-power talks designed to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The Kremlin leader said patience and negotiation were the best tools for dealing with Iran and said trying to intimidate Tehran was "hopeless."
"But to demonstrate patience and look for a way out is possible and should be done," Putin said. "If we have a chance to keep up these direct contacts, then we will do it, hoping for a positive, mutually advantageous result."
Merkel took a more hawkish line, saying that the United Nations must impose more sanctions on Iran if it does not comply with U.N. demands over its nuclear program.
Russia's Interfax news agency had reported on Sunday evening that Putin had been warned by his special services of a possible assassination plot during his visit to Tehran this week.
"A reliable source in one of the Russian special services, has received information from several sources outside Russia, that during the president of Russia's visit to Tehran an assassination attempt is being plotted," Interfax said.
Russian media are mostly controlled by the government and it would be unthinkable for a major Moscow news organization to report an alleged plot against the president without prior official approval.
Pure propaganda, nothing more. All designed to make Putin look bold and brave to the Russian people. Its too bad the western media keeps playing along instead of calling him on it – not that it would change anything inside Russia, of course.