Ambassador assassination plot: SSA assures her safety, while Iran dismisses media reports

Following reports of an alleged plot to assassinate US Ambassador to South Africa Lana Mark, the State Security Agency (SSA) said it had interacted with all relevant partners, both in the country and abroad, to ensure the diplomat will not be harmed.

News24 earlier reported the Islamic Republic of Iran was said to be considering a plan to kill Marks.

This, according to Politico which reported US officials were aware of a threat against her in apparent retaliation for the US killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.

The drone assassination of Soleimani was intended as a deterrent to Iranian aggression, the US State Department asserted at the time.

The SSA said in a statement it had noted reports about the alleged assassination plot and the rising public interest on the matter.

It added it would like to assure all South African citizens and interested parties the matter was receiving the necessary attention.

"The agency is interacting with all relevant partners, both in the country and abroad, to ensure that no harm will be suffered by the US ambassador, including any other diplomatic officials inside the borders of our country," SSA spokesperson Mava Scott said.

State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said South Africa had a duty to protect all diplomatic officials who were on state duty in the country.

"It should be noted that the nature of the allegation and attendant threat doesn't permit us to give any detailed updates on the investigations," Scott added.

"Reports thereon shall be provided to all the relevant authorities including the president of the republic, the minister of international relations and cooperation and relevant officials in the United States administration."

Meanwhile, in a statement on Monday, the spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saeed Khatibzadeh, dismissed the report by the US-based media house.

He described it as "custom-ordered, biased and purposeful".

"We advise the American officials to stop resorting to hackneyed and worn-out methods for anti-Iran propaganda in the international arena," Khatibzadeh said.

"As a responsible member of the international community, the Islamic Republic of Iran has proved its constant commitment to the international diplomatic principles and norms."He said:Conversely, it is the United States and the incumbent regime at the White House that has ignored the basic diplomatic principles and has become a rogue regime in the international arena, particularly in recent years, with numerous measures out of line with internationally-accepted methods and norms, including masterminding and implementing tens of plots for assassination and military and intelligence interference, withdrawal from many international agreements, violating the territorial integrity of nations, and the cowardly assassination of General Qassem Soleimani.

Khatibzadeh called the allegations part of US President Donald Trump's counter-intelligence campaign against Iran, adding it was predicable the US regime would resort to anti-Iran accusations and falsification ahead of the US presidential election.

As for the assassination of Soleimani, the Islamic Republic of Iran would press on with international legal action at all levels, he said.

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