On Monday night, President Donald Trump warned Iran that any attack it makes against the U.S. will be met with an overwhelming response.
Trump tweeted, “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. 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
Trump’s warning comes after intelligence revealed that Iran is considering an assassination plot against U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Politico reported, citing a U.S. government official close to the issue and another official who saw intelligence reporting on the matter, that Iran has considered Marks, 66, as a potential target since the early part of the year, but specific threats have emerged more recently.
The South African-born Marks is a personal friend of Trump’s of over 20 years and is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Marks has served in the ambassador role since October 2019. She was reportedly warned previously about the potential threat to her life, in accordance with a “Duty to Warn” policy, which requires spy agencies to warn potential victims of an attack if intelligence indicates that person’s life may be in danger.
Iran’s own diplomatic ties with South Africa have lent credibility to the potential assassination plot. Politico reported Iran maintains clandestine networks of agents in the country and Al Jazeera reported in 2015, based on leaked intelligence documents, that Iranian agents have worked in South Africa to prop up front companies and diplomatic channels in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions on the country.
While Iran did fire a salvo of missiles at two U.S. positions in Iraq in retaliation for the Trump-ordered drone strike that killed Soleimani, new reports indicate Iran is still seeking further retaliation for the targeted killing of Soleimani, who was a prominent commander of Iran’s Quds Force.