Officer: Iran conspired to assassinate US ambassador to South Africa

Still, attacking Marx is one of several options, with US officials believing that Iran’s regime is considering retaliation, as Qassam Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in January. At the time, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo stated that the US killed Soleimani to reestablish detention against Iran.

An intelligence community directive, known as “Duty to Warne,” requires U.S. spy agencies to notify potential detectives if intelligence indicates their lives may be in danger; In the case of US government officials, credible threats will be included in the briefing and security plan. A US government official said that Marx had been made aware of the danger. This intelligence has also been included in the CIA World Intelligence Review, known as WIRe, a classified product available to senior US government officials and security officials and some lawmakers and their employees.

Marx, 66, was sworn in as US ambassador in October last year. She has been known as Trump for over two decades and is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Critics of Trump have raised him as a “handbag designer”, but his supporters retort that he is a successful businesswoman – his legendary handbags run up to $ 40,000 with many international connections. A personal friend of the late Princess Diana, she was also born in South Africa and speaks some of the country’s major languages, including Afrikaans and Xosa.

The intelligence community is not exactly sure why Irani would target Marx, who has few, if any, known links to Iran. It is possible that Iranians took into account her long friendship with Trump, a US government official said.

The Iranian government also runs secret networks in South Africa, officials have noted, and has been there for decades. In 2015, Al Jazeera and The Guardian reported leaked intelligence documents, which expanded the extensive secret network of Iranian operatives in South Africa. Marx may be an easier target than American diplomats in other parts of the world, such as Western Europe, where the US has strong ties with local law enforcement and intelligence services.

Iran’s Islamist leaders have had a history of executing murders beyond their country’s borders since the seizure of power following a popular uprising in the late 1970s. In recent decades, Iran has generally avoided directly targeting US diplomats, although Iranian-backed militias have long attacked US diplomatic facilities and personnel in Iraq.

Trump alleged after the killing of Soleimani that the Iranian general was plotting an attack on US diplomatic missions, although US officials later doubted his claims. “They were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump said in January, referring to the heavily fortified US diplomatic complex in Iraq. Later, in an interview with Fox News, he said, “I can reveal that I believe it will probably be four embassies.”

A few days after Soleimani’s death, Iran launched a ballistic missile salvo at a military base in Iraq, which halted US forces, causing brain injuries among dozens of US soldiers. Trump refused to retaliate and said “Iran seems to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world” – although he announced new sanctions on the Iranian regime And warned it against further retaliation.

However, some analysts said at the time that Iran may have looked for other ways to avenge Soleimani’s death. According to media reports, US Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie topped Iran’s hit list earlier this year. McKenzie said last month that he expected a new “response” from Iran to America’s current presence in Iraq.

“I don’t know what the nature of that response would be, but we would certainly be prepared for that, should that happen,” he said. On Wednesday, McKenzie confirmed plans to reduce the US military presence in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 by the end of September.

During an online forum in August, McKenzie said that Iran was “our central problem” in the region, and acknowledged that behind the Iranian scenes in Iraq complicated US efforts against ISIS, the radical Sunni terrorist organization and movement Was. He said, “The threat against our military from Shia militant groups has prompted us to put in resources that we would otherwise use to provide our defense against ISIS and this would reduce our ability to work effectively against them.” has occurred.”

The White House-based National Security Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Neither was an Iranian official with a mission to Iran at the United Nations, nor a South African embassy official in Washington. A spokesman for the State Department, CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

The US and Iran have been bitter enemies for decades, openly confronting each other – and engaging in diplomacy at others – but more often waging a shadowy battle for power and influence in the wider Middle East. Under Trump, the two countries have turned to outright military conflict on more than one occasion.

Last summer, the US blamed Iran and its proximity to several explosions aimed at oil tankers. Iran took an American drone and the US later managed to land an Iranian drone.

Trump admitted that, after the US drone was toppled by Iran, he was almost authorized to launch a direct attack on Iranian soil, but said he could be stopped after 150 people died – a toll he Said he was dissatisfied.

In the months that followed, the countries’ dispute deepened, particularly in Iraq, where the United States and the United States have been engaged in a prolonged proxy war. In December, an American contractor was killed in Iraq following an attack by an Iranian-allied militia. The US reacted by bombing sites organized by the group, killing about two dozen of its fighters. Shortly thereafter, protesters believed the US embassy in Baghdad to be linked to broken parts of the complex’s militia.

Then, in early January, the United States staged an airstrike, killing Solimani as he was visiting Baghdad. This was a major increase given the importance of solimony in Iran, although US officials described it as a defensive measure.

Soleimani led the Quads Force, a unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which oversees the country’s military activities outside its borders. The Americans blamed him for the deaths of many American soldiers in that area.

Iran vowed to retaliate. Its first major step was a January 8 missile strike at the al-Assad military base in Iraq. But around the same time, an Iranian missile dropped a civilian plane, killing 176 people and creating a fury inside Iran for the incident and shifting the explanation for the incident, as well as overseas It was also condemned.

Iran and South Africa have collaborated on several fronts in recent decades at the United Nations, where South Africa has repeatedly advocated Iran. South Africa’s reserves of uranium are believed to have been a major interest for Iran as it accelerated its nuclear program, which Tehran has always insisted was for peaceful energy purposes, not bombs. The pair also have military ties, having signed some basic defense agreements.

Strange plots involving Iran have also been exposed before.

Nearly a decade ago, the US arrested and eventually sentenced an Iranian-American man to prison for allegedly trying to hire Mexican drug cartel killers to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States Thea, as he dined at Cafe Milano, a Washington Washington restaurant. By the rich and powerful people of the city. The US accused Soleimani of overseeing the conspiracy.