President Trump on Monday warned Iranian leaders that any assassination attempt or other attack against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terror leader Qassem Soleimani would be met with a far worse response.
“According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering U.S. Troops, and the death & suffering caused over so many years," the president tweeted. "Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!”
...caused over so many years. Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2020
According to reports, Iran is eying Lana Marks, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa. While those reports have been circulating since the spring, intelligence has become more specific recently, with the Iranian Embassy in Pretoria reportedly involved in the plot.
The intelligence community isn’t exactly sure why Iranians would target Marks, who has few, if any, known links to Iran. It’s possible the Iranians took her long friendship with Trump into consideration, the U.S. government official said.
The Iranian government also operates clandestine networks in South Africa, the officials noted, and has had a foothold there for decades. In 2015, Al Jazeera and The Guardian reported on leaked intelligence documents that detailed an extensive secret network of Iranian operatives in South Africa. Marks may also be an easier target than U.S. diplomats in other parts of the world, such as Western Europe, where the U.S. has stronger relationships with local law enforcement and intelligence services. (Politico)
Speaking to Fox News's Martha MacCallum about the allegations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran is engaged in assassination attempts all around and that the administration takes all threats seriously and will do everything possible to protect U.S. personnel.
Pompeo comments on report of Iranian plot to assassinate US diplomat https://t.co/b035m498IG— Leah Barkoukis (@LeahBarkoukis) September 15, 2020