Iran is weighing the possibility of carrying out an assassination plot as revenge for the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, Politico reported, citing official sources familiar with the intelligence. According to the report, the target could be the US ambassador to South Africa.
According to the unnamed officials, Iran is seeking for a way to retaliate against Soleimani's murder, an extrajudicial killing directly ordered by US President Donald Trump. A reported possibility of assassinating the US ambassador would significantly ramp up tensions between the countries, according to reports.
"US officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring, the officials said", Politico wrote, citing unnamed sources, adding that the Iranian embassy in Pretoria is believed to be involved in the alleged plot.
Marks has reportedly been warned about the alleged threat. While the option to target her was viewed by the US government as possible, intelligence data has become more specific in recent weeks.
Politico's sources said they do not know why Marks would be considered by Tehran as a target, since she has "few, if any, known links to Iran". It was suggested that she would be an easier target than other US diplomats.
An assassination plot would, if successful, follow the assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike ordered by the US president in January 2020. Iran responded by carrying out several missile attacks on US military bases in Iraq in the days following Soleimani's death, which did not claim any lives, but reportedly left many US soldiers with brain trauma.
Soleimani's assassination was vehemently condemned by Tehran, but no retaliatory killing has been known to have been committed by Iran, with IRGC Deputy Commander for Political Affairs, Yadollah Javani, indicating that Iran could not "find anyone similar to retaliate against", since no top US military official could, according to the military commander, compare with Soleimani.