Trump threatens Iran with ‘1,000 times greater’ attack based on fake news

September 15, 2020 - 15:24

TEHRAN — U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened Iran with a “1,000 times greater” attack in response to a cooked-up Politico report which claimed Iran is planning to assassinate the U.S. ambassador to South Africa.

“According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or another 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,” Trump wrote in his Twitter page, pointing to the U.S. assassination of Iran’s anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani on January 3.

“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!” Trump added.

The Politico story, which was published on Sunday, claimed that the Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks to avenge the Trump-ordered assassination of General Soleimani.

“U.S. officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring,” Politico reported, citing intelligence provided by two unnamed U.S. government officials.

“If I were in that (American) ambassador’s shoes, I would resort to all possible channels to understand why the terrorist government of America has come to think of, suspiciously yet awkwardly, removing her,” wrote Abbas Mousavi, Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan.“But the intelligence about the threat to the ambassador has become more specific in recent weeks,” it said, adding, “The Iranian embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot.”

Marks is a South African-born American handbag designer who founded the eponymous fashion brand, Lana Marks. She presented her diplomatic credentials to the South African government on January 28, 2020.

Iran’s embassy in Pretoria responded to the assassination claim early on Monday, describing it via Twitter as “baseless accusation from a terrorist regime.”

It also said it will soon provide more information on the matter.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also reacted, calling the report “customer-made, biased and purposeful”.

Noting that Politico has tried to portray its claim as real by referring to the remarks of an “apparent American official”, Khatibzadeh said in a Monday statement that “we advise the United States’ officials to stop resorting to repeated and decayed methods to create anti-Iran commotion at the international arena.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to directly address the claim of the reported threat to the U.S. ambassador, who is a close ally of Trump.

However, Pompeo told Fox News that “Iran has engaged in assassination efforts all across the world. They have assassinated people in Europe and in other parts of the world. We take these allegations seriously.”

“We make very clear to the Islamic Republic of Iran that this kind of activity – attacking any American any place at any time, whether it’s an American diplomat, an ambassador, or one of our service members – is completely unacceptable,” he added.

In his Monday statement, Khatibzadeh linked the report to the upcoming U.S. presidential election, which could pose a great challenge to Trump’s re-election.

“The United States regime’s resorting to leveling accusations and spreading lies against Iran on the eve of the United States’ presidential elections concurrent with the pressures that this regime is applying to exploit the United Nations Security Council’s mechanisms with the purpose of increasing pressure on the Iranian people was predictable,” he stated.

The spokesman also said that Iran “will never forgive or forget” the cowardly assassination of Soleimani and will pursue the case legally.

‘Price for Soleimani assassination is much higher than unfortunate ambassador’

Former Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that the “price of the cowardly assassination of the world champion of the fight against terrorism is much higher than an unfortunate American ambassador in a corner of the world.”

“If I were in that ambassador’s shoes, I would resort to all possible channels to understand why the terrorist government of America has come to think of, suspiciously yet awkwardly, removing her,” Mousavi, who is now Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, wrote in a tweet.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s State Security Agency issued a statement which suggested that the country learned about the “alleged plot” after Politico published the story.

“The State Security Agency has today, Monday, 14 September 2020 noted reports about an alleged plot to assassinate the United States Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Lana Marks,” the statement read.

“The agency has noted the rising public interest on the matter and would like to assure all South African citizens and interested parties that the matter is receiving the necessary attention,” it added.

The statement’s indication is that the U.S. government apparently had intelligence of an apparently imminent threat in South Africa but it decided to leak it to the media instead of notifying that country. 

“In Tehran, everyone is making fun of the accusation,” Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, told SABC News on Monday. “This woman is a handbag designer. She’s by no means the equivalent of General Qassem Soleimani, who was the person who defeated ISIS and al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.”

Marandi said General Soleimani was the person who had the most impact on the defeat of the terrorists that the U.S. helped create according to Trump himself.

The U.S. is constantly making “ridiculous accusations” against Iran, he remarked. “The only thing left for the United States to accuse Iran of is global warming.”

The professor said it was the same regime in the U.S. that claimed they had intelligence that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain had chemical weapons in order to invade Iraq.

“The United States’ so-called intelligence community has zero credibility,” he concluded.

MH/PA

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