20:45 GMT13 April 2021
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    Tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated in early January, when top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani died in a US drone strike on his car at a Baghdad airport, an attack that was authorised by President Donald Trump.

    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”.

    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".

    Qasem Soleimani - commander of Quds Force of Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC)
    Qasem Soleimani - commander of Quds Force of Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC)

    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’s Assassination

    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.

    Iran retaliated by conducting a missile strike on the US Ayn al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq and American facilities in Erbil. No US personnel were killed or seriously wounded in the attack, but the Pentagon reported that at least 109 American servicemen had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.

    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.

    Related:

    Killing Soleimani Made US Less Safe, Trump Is 'Reckless' on Iran, Poll Says
    Iran's General Soleimani Could Have Been Killed by US in 2007, But Was Deemed 'Untouchable' – Report
    Eleven US Servicemen Injured in Iran Missile Response to Soleimani Assassination
    Tags:
    plot, attack, mistake, Donald Trump, assassination, Qasem Soleimani, Iran, US
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