Iran slams report on alleged plot to kill US envoy

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has slammed a US media report about Tehran allegedly trying to assassinate the US Ambassador to South Africa in revenge for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, a former commander of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

“We advise US officials to refrain from resorting to repetitive and rotten methods to create an anti-Iranian atmosphere on the international stage,” Xinhua news agency quoted Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying on Monday.

On Sunday, the US news website Politico published a report claiming that intelligence reports from two government officials revealed “the Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the Ambassador to South Africa”.

Iran, Khatibzadeh said, is a responsible member of the international community and has demonstrated its continued adherence to international diplomatic principles and customs, while the “current regime in the White House” has perpetrated countless actions outside internationally accepted standards.

The Iranian spokesman cited as examples “the (US) design and execution of dozens of assassination plans and military and intelligence interventions”,its withdrawal of “numerous” international agreements and violation of the territorial integrity of countries.

The US, Khatibzadeh noted, has become an “rebellious regime” in the international arena.

The “baseless” and “purposeful” allegations in the press report are “part of the (US President Donald) Trump administration’s counter-intelligence campaign against Iran in the run-up to the election” on November 3, he added.

On January 3, a US drone struck a convoy at the Baghdad airport that killed Soleimani, who headed the IRGC’s Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

Meanwhile, in a tweetson Monday night, Trump said: “According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the US in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering US troops, and the death and suffering caused over so many years.

“Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the US will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude.”