Iran plotting assassination of US ambassador to South Africa

Officials believe that Iran may be considering the attack in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Iran is plotting to assassinate U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks, Politico reported Sunday, citing unnamed U.S. government officials.

Officials said that they have been aware of a general threat against Marks since spring, but intelligence reports have become more specific in recent weeks.

The Iranian embassy in South Africa is involved in the plot, they said.

Officials believe that Iran may be considering an attack on Marks in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad in early January.

It is not clear why Iran would specifically target Marks, who was born in South Africa and was sworn in as ambassador in October 2019, although it may be due to her close association with President Donald Trump.

Marks has known Trump for more than 20 years and has been a member of his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

When Trump turned his Mar-a-Lago residence into a private club in 1995, he allowed membership to people regardless of race or religion, unlike other clubs in the area which barred Jews and blacks.

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Marks, who is a Jew and avid tennis player, joined the club with her husband, Neville.

Prior to her appointment as ambassador, Marks served as the CEO of the Lana Marks fashion brand for over 30 years. The company produces luxury handbags.

Shortly after the January drone strike that killed Soleimani, Iran retaliated by launching ballistic missiles at a U.S. military base in Iraq.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh warned at the time, “Even if we attack every U.S. base, kill Trump, and kill his secretary of defense, this would not be enough to avenge the blood of Hajj Qassem [Soleimani].”

However, Hesameddin Ashena, an adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, suggested that retaliation should be aimed specifically at Trump.

“Our sole problem is Trump. In the event of war, it is he who will bear full responsibility,” he tweeted on January 5.

He also tweeted a link to a listing of Trump’s real estate holdings, including Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.

In July, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, made it clear that Iran was still seeking retaliation, saying, “Harsher revenge is on the way.”