US Report of Iran's Assassination Plot ‘Bizarre’: South African Minister

US Report of Iran's Assassination Plot ‘Bizarre’: South African Minister

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor described a US report that Tehran planned to kill a US diplomat in retaliation for American assassination of General Qassem Soleimani as “very strange”.

Pandor was speaking in an exclusive interview with the SABC News correspondent, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly’s High Level week, which begins on Monday next week in New York.

Pandor said she was not given a heads up before the Politico story broke.

“It is a matter of the protection services and that which is provided to our diplomats, we have assured them through the statement of State Security Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, that South Africa believes diplomats in our country are safe and should there be a need for additional measures, these would be taken and obviously we will ask and Minister Dlodlo would seek more information from her colleagues in the Security sector in the United States,” the minister said.

“But it’s been a very strange public statement and of course our friends in Iran are as surprised as we were. I find it surprising, why would Iran being a very good friend of South Africa come and commit a horrendous act in a country which has been a good friend to Iran, and of such a nature? I can only describe it as bizarre and let me stop there,” she added.

Iran has strongly dismissed the story, saying that the "biased and agenda-driven" report published in the American media outlet cited the statements of a seemingly US government official in an effort to make it appear true.

The article published on the Politico claimed to be based on US intelligence reports, allegedly seen by a US government official and another official familiar with the documents, stating that Marks had likely been chosen due to her closeness to US President Donald Trump.

On January 3, the United States used an armed drone to assassinate General Soleimani along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and a number of their companions, outside Baghdad airport.

Iran responded to the terrorist act with a volley of ballistic missiles fired at at two US bases in Iraq, which left about 110 American troops injured. 


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