After the State Security Agency (SSA) said there is no credible threat against the American ambassador in South Africa at the moment, Iranian comments on Saturday confirmed that Lana Marks was not a target.
This follows reports this week that the Islamic Republic of Iran was said to be considering a plan to kill Marks.
According to Politico, US officials are aware of a threat against Marks in apparent retaliation for the US killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.
The SSA issued a statement saying that after senior South African Government met with their counterparts from the USA, as well as other relevant stakeholders, there is no sufficient information is sustain the allegation of the threat.
“The South African officials have requested additional information from the United States Government. Once the information is forthcoming, the facts will be reviewed and re-assessed.
“Our sovereignty and territorial integrity is of utmost importance to the South African government and her people. In this regard, the South African government takes seriously any alleged threat and we have therefore heightened our security situation/alertness. It is our duty to protect all diplomatic missions, and their personnel, present in South Africa.
Iran Guards vow Soleimani revenge
On Saturday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief said that Tehran will avenge the US killing of Soleimani by targeting only those involved, in an “honourable” retaliation.
Soleimani, who headed the Guards elite Qods Force, was killed in an American air strike near Baghdad airport in January.
US President Donald Trump threatened Iran this week with a “thousand times stronger” response in case of any attack on his country, following the report.
Guards’ chief Major General Hossein Salami retorted to the US president.
“Mr. Trump, our revenge for the martyrdom of our great commander is certain, serious and real, but we are honourable and take revenge with fairness and justice,” he said, quoted by the Guard’s official website Sepahnews.
“You think we would strike at a woman ambassador to South Africa for the blood of our martyr brother? We will target those who were directly or indirectly involved in the martyrdom of this great man,” he said.
“You should know, that we will target whoever was involved … and this is a serious message.”
Soleimani was killed in an drone air strike, alongside a top Iraqi commander. Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Days later, Iran launched a volley of missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and other coalition troops, but Trump refrained from any further military response.
Relations between Washington and Tehran have been tense ever since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
They have deteriorated sharply since Trump unilaterally pulled out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions.