Iran is considering an assassination attempt against the US ambassador to South Africa in order to avenge the killing of Quds Force general Qassem Soleimani, according to US intelligence reports, a Politico report said on Sunday.
Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks was most likely chosen due to her close relationship with US President Donald Trump, the report said.
According to US government officials, they have been aware of a general threat against Marks since the spring but the intelligence has become more detailed in recent weeks. The Iranian embassy in Pretoria is aware of and actively involved in the plot.
Assassinating Marks is only one of a number of options that US intelligence officials believe Iran is considering to avenge Soleimani’s death.
According to the US government official cited by the report, Marks has been informed of the threat in accordance with the intelligence community directive “Duty to Warn,” which requires US spy agencies to inform potential victims of life-endangering threats.
The threat to Marks’ life has also been reported in the WIRe, the CIA World Intelligence Review, a classified record made available to senior US security and policy officials as well as some lawmakers and their staff.
The 66-year-old Marks, who was sworn in as the US ambassador last October, is a successful businesswoman who has known Trump for over 20 years. She was born and raised in South Africa and speaks Afrikaans and Xhosa. She grew up in Port Elizabeth, where her family were notable members of the Jewish community.
Marks has no particular connection to Iran and intelligence officials believe that Iran may be targeting her due to her friendship with Trump. Additionally, Iran has retained a foothold in South Africa for decades and according to The Guardian and Al Jazeera reports in 2015, Iran maintains extensive clandestine networks of Iranian operatives in the country.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)