South Africa’s government said there was not enough evidence to back up the claim that Iran was plotting to kill the US ambassador to the country. The plot was originally reported by Politico on September 13th.
“At present, the information provided is not sufficient to sustain the allegation that there is a credible threat against the US ambassador,” South Africa’s State Security Agency said on Friday.
Politico cited two anonymous officials who said Iran was considering killing the ambassador, Lana Marks, as retaliation for the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
The Politico story was met with skepticism in South Africa immediately after it was published. A South African intelligence source told the newspaper Daily Maverick that the plot was “not likely to be real.” The source told the Maverick that while they take every threat seriously, there “appears to be, from our perspective, no discernible threat.”
President Trump took the report seriously and took to Twitter to threaten the Islamic Republic. “Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude,” Trump said on September 14th.
The South African government was not aware of the allegations made in the Politico story until after it was published. A spokesman for South Africa’s foreign ministry told Bloomberg that the story took them by surprise.