Iran Categorically Dismisses Media Claims of Plan to Assassinate US Envoy to S. Africa
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran on Monday strongly rejected a report released by the US media claiming that the country was weighing plans to kill the American ambassador to South Africa to take revenge for Washington’s assassination of former Commander of the IRGC Quds Force Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimeni.
“Such baseless remarks are part of the Trump administration’s counter-intelligence campaign against Iran. The US regime’s resort to allegations and lies against Iran on the threshold of the US presidential election and concurrent with its pressures to use the UN Security Council mechanisms with the aim of increasing pressure on the Iranian nation was predictable,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday.
He also blasted the US media for releasing an ordered, biased and targeted report against Iran, advising the American officials to give up resorting to repeated and worn-out methods to spread an anti-Iran atmosphere on the international scene.
Khatibzadeh described Iran as a responsible member of the international society which has proved its commitment to the international diplomatic principles and norms, saying that it is the US and the current regime in the White House that has implemented tens of assassination plots and military interventions in other countries in recent years, an instance of which was the assassination of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
“As repeatedly said before, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue legally pursuing the criminal and cowardly assassination of General Soleimani internationally at all levels and will neither forgive nor forget the terrorist act,” he stressed.
His remarks came in response to a report by Politico citing the US officials as claiming that the “Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa” in retaliation for the assassination of General Soleimeni.
Meantime, a spokesman for South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said the U.S. official’s allegation took Pretoria by surprise.
“We only became aware of this report this morning,” Lunga Ngqengelele said by phone on Monday.
Department of International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor may issue a statement later, he added.
Lieutenant General Soleimani was assassinated in a US drone strike on Baghdad International Airport in Iraq on January 3.
The airstrike also martyred Deputy Commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
Five Iranian and five Iraqi military men were martyred by the missiles fired by the US drone at Baghdad International Airport.
On January 8, the IRGC Aerospace Force started heavy ballistic missile attacks on US Ein Al-Assad airbase in Southwestern Iraq near the border with Syria and a US operated airbase in Erbil in retaliation for the US assassination of ant General Qassem Soleimani.
Ein Al-Assad is an airbase with a 4km runway at 188m altitude from sea levels, which is the main and the largest US airbase in Iraq. Early reports said the radar systems and missile defense shields in Ein Al-Assad failed to operate and intercept the Iranian missiles. Unofficial reports said the US army's central radar systems at Ein Al-Assad had been jammed by electronic warfare.
The second IRGC reprisal attack targeted a US military base near Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the second leg of "Martyr Soleimani" reprisal operation.
Iraq said the attacks had not taken any toll from its army men stationed at these two bases. The US army had blocked entrance into Ein Al-Assad to everyone, including the Iraqi army.
It was the first direct attack on the US army ever since world war two.
The IRGC officials said none of the missiles had been intercepted.
Meantime, Iran announced in late June that it had issued arrest warrants for 36 officials of the US and other countries who have been involved in the assassination of the martyred General Soleimani.
"36 individuals who have been involved or ordered the assassination of Hajj Qassem, including the political and military officials of the US and other governments, have been identified and arrest warrants have been issued for them by the judiciary officials and red alerts have also been issued for them via the Interpol," Prosecutor-General of Tehran Ali Alqasi Mehr said.
He said that the prosecuted individuals are accused of murder and terrorist action, adding that US President Donald Trump stands at the top of the list and will be prosecuted as soon as he stands down presidency after his term ends.