South Africa terms assassination claim against Iran as ‘very strange’

September 18, 2020 - 18:12

TEHRAN — South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor has responded to a Politico report that claimed Tehran planned to assassinate the U.S. ambassador to South Africa.

In an interview with the SABC News correspondent, Pandor described the report as “very strange”, saying she was not given a heads-up before the Politico story was published.

The Politico story, which was published on September 13, 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.

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.

“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.

The South African minister explained, “It is a matter of the protection services and that which is provided to our diplomats, we have assured them through the statement of State Security Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, that South Africa believes diplomats in our country are safe and should there be a need for additional measures, these would be taken and obviously we will ask and Minister Dlodlo would seek more information from her colleagues in the Security sector in the United States.”

“But it’s been a very strange public statement and of course our friends in Iran are as surprised as we were. I find it surprising, why would Iran being a very good friend of South Africa come and commit a horrendous act in a country which has been a good friend to Iran, and of such a nature? I can only describe it as bizarre and let me stop there,” she added.

Iran has also strongly rejected the report as “customer-made, biased and purposeful”.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed 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.”

After the report was published, Trump took to Twitter to threaten Iran with a “1,000 times greater” attack in case of any Iranian attack.

“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 said.

“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!” he added.

In response, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said Trump’s threat to use military force against Iran constitutes a gross violation of the United Nations’ Charter.

“I am writing to inform you that, on 14 September 2020, the President of the United States of America, referring to ‘press reports’, made a baseless allegation against the Islamic Republic of Iran and threatened to use force against my country,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi wrote in a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

MH/PA

Leave a Comment

6 + 1 =