Iranian President unhurt after blast near motorcade

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was unharmed by an attack with a homemade explosive device on his motorcade during a visit to the western city of Hamadan today, a source in his office said.

The source said Ahmadinejad's convoy was targeted as he was travelling from Hamadan's airport to give a speech in a local sports arena. The president was unhurt but others had been injured in the blast. One person was arrested.



"There was an attack this morning. Nothing happened to the president's car," the source told Reuters. "Investigations continue ... to find out who was behind it."



Ahmadinejad, who has cracked down on opposition since a disputed June 2009 presidential election, appeared on live Iranian television at the sports stadium. He looked unperturbed and made no mention of any assault.



The populist, hardline Ahmadinejad has accumulated enemies in conservative and reformist circles in the Islamic Republic as well as abroad.



Al Arabiya television said an attacker had thrown a bomb at Ahmadinejad's convoy before being detained. Dubai-based Al Arabiya cited its own sources as saying the bomb had hit a car carrying journalists and presidential staff.



There was no immediate claim of responsibility.



The main Iranian state television channel remained silent about the explosion, while the English-language state news channel Press TV denied there had been any attack.



The semi-official Fars news agency, after initially reporting a man had thrown a home-made grenade, later changed its story to say a firecracker had been set off by a man who was excited to see the president.



Ahmadinejad's government is facing economic pain as new foreign sanctions imposed over Iran's disputed nuclear energy programme bite on the world's fifth biggest oil exporter.



Iranian leaders have responded to the pressure by accusing the West of plotting against the Islamic Republic. Domestic opponents are accused of being backed by foreign powers.



On Monday, during a speech to a conference of expatriate Iranians in Tehran, 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.



But one opposition activist said it was a very different thing for the president to talk of attacks and for an attack to actually take place.



"It is obviously a reflection of the fact that all is not well in Iran and control is not total, contrary to conventional wisdom," said Mehrdad Khonsari, a London-based Iranian opposition activist.







One of Ahmadinejad's trademarks has been constant travel around his vast country to deliver provocative speeches before outwardly adoring crowds who shout "death" to Iran's foes.









Several armed groups opposed to the government are active in Iran, mostly ethnic Kurds in the northwest, Baluch in the southeast and Arabs in the southwest.



The banned Mujahideen Khalq, listed by the United States as a terrorist group, carried out many anti-government attacks after the 1979 Islamic revolution. It was blamed for two 1981 bombings that killed dozens of senior officials in Tehran, including the president and prime minister.



But Shahin Gobadi, French-based spokesman for the Mujahideen, now part of an opposition coalition known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran, denied involvement.



Asked if his group was behind the attack, he said: "Absolutely not, absolutely not. It has nothing to do with us. I don't know what happened but it has nothing to do with us."



Ahmadinejad recently sought to isolate rival political factions by declaring that "the regime has only one party, which is the velayat" - a reference to Shi'ite Islam's hidden Imam, for now represented by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.



Just as combative towards external pressure, the president has derided sanctions over Iran's nuclear programme as "pathetic" and vowed to pursue what Iran says is a quest for nuclear energy, not weapons as the West believes.



On Monday, Ahmadinejad called on US President Barack Obama to face him in a televised one-on-one debate to see who has the best solutions for the world's problems.



Ahmadinejad, backed by Khamenei and the elite Revolutionary Guards, crushed street protests that greeted his disputed re-election in June 2009, although he has yet to silence losing reformist candidates Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi.



The president, first elected in 2005, also seems bent on displacing an older layer of conservative leaders and clerics whose influence dates back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us