US President Donald Trump has vowed to retaliate Iran in event of any assassination or attack on his country.
In his Twitter handle on Tuesday, Trump said “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!”
“According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering U.S. Troops, and the death & suffering caused over so many years.”
Relations between Washington and Tehran have been tense since the Iranian revolution, and have spiraled since Trump unilaterally pulled out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
On January 3, 2020, a United States drone strike near Baghdad International Airport targeted and killed Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps while he was reportedly planning to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad.
Consequently, Washington is pushing to extend an arms embargo on Iran that starts to progressively expire in October as well as re-imposing UN sanctions on the Islamic republic.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday declined to comment directly on the reported threat to Lana Marks, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa who is a close ally of Trump.
But Pompeo told Fox News that “the Islamic Republic of Iran has engaged in assassination efforts all across the world. They have assassinated people in Europe and in other parts of the world. We take these… allegations seriously.”
“We make very clear to the Islamic Republic of Iran that this kind of activity — attacking any American any place at any time, whether it’s an American diplomat, an ambassador, or one of our service members— is completely unacceptable.”
The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman on Monday dismissed the report of an assassination plot as “baseless” and part of “repetitive and rotten methods to create an anti-Iranian atmosphere on the international stage.”
The Iranian navy last week said it drove off American aircraft that flew close to an area where military exercises were underway near the Strait of Hormuz.
The military said three U.S. aircraft were detected by Iran’s air force radars after they entered the country’s air defense identification zone.
In June last year, a U.S. RQ-4 drone was shot down by Iran after allegedly violating Iranian airspace — a claim the U.S. has denied.