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    Russia is taking steps to ensure the safety of its facilities and citizens in Iran following reports of a planned terrorist attack on the Russian consulate in Rasht, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is taking steps to ensure the safety of its facilities and citizens in Iran following reports of a planned terrorist attack on the Russian consulate in Rasht, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

    Iran said on Wednesday it had arrested a terrorist group that planned to blow up the Russian consulate building in the town of Rasht near the Caspian Sea.

    "The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Tehran, in cooperation with the Iranian authorities, are taking additional security measures to ensure the safety of Russian citizens and facilities in Iran," the ministry said in a statement.

    "This terrorist network, with links to the U.S., planned an explosion at the Russian consulate in Rasht, aiming to create a rift between Iran and its neighbors," Qolam Hosein Mohseni-Ejei was quoted by Fars news agency as saying on Wednesday.

    The minister, speaking at a session of Iranian prosecutors, did not provide any details of the operation, but Russia's charge d'affaires in Iran, Alexei Dedov, told RIA Novosti that according to local authorities at least 20 people linked to the foiled attack had been arrested.

    Moscow and Tehran enjoy warm relations amid the pressure from the West on Iran over its controversial nuclear program. Russia is a key economic partner of Iran, and is building the country's first nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

    Shortly before leaving office, Putin signed a decree implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1803 imposing new sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. However, the three rounds of sanctions so far imposed against Iran have been relatively mild, due to Russia and China's refusal to accept harsh reprisals against the Islamic Republic.

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