Tehran has warned Washington not to make a major mistake following US President Donald Trump’s threat to retaliate following the Islamic Republic’s alleged plans to avenge the assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
“We hope that they do not make a new strategic mistake and certainly in the case of any strategic mistake, they will witness Iran's decisive response”, government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a televised news conference on Tuesday.
He bemoaned the fact that "the president of a country who has claims to global management and order would make hasty, agenda-fuelled and dubious remarks on such a weak basis”, in an apparent reference to a recent US media report about Iran’s alleged assassination plot against an American envoy.
Rabiei argued that responding to such reports would "achieve nothing but disruption to the region and to world calm", urging Trump to "refrain from fresh adventurism […] for the sake of winning a new term as president”.
...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
The spokesman made the remarks after Trump tweeted earlier on Tuesday that any Iranian attack against the US will be met with a response "that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude".
The warning followed the news outlet Politico citing unnamed sources as saying that Tehran weighs the possibility of conducting an assassination plot against American Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marksas as revenge for the US assassination of General Soleimani earlier this year.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh dismissed the allegations and called on US officials “to stop resorting to hackneyed and worn-out methods for anti-Iran propaganda in the international arena”.
He rejected the claims as part of the “Trump administration’s counter-intelligence campaign against Iran”, slamming the Politico report as “custom-ordered, biased and purposeful”.
Khatibzadeh also pledged that Iran will “press on with international legal action at all levels in connection with the criminal” assassination of the top Iranian general, and that it will “neither forgive nor forget the act of terrorism”.
Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, along with senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were killed by a US drone strike on their car at Baghdad International Airport on 3 January, in an attack that was authorised by President Donald Trump.
Soleimani’s assassination exacerbated the already-tense relations between Tehran and Washington, which have been deteriorating since the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the reinstatement of tough American economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.