Trump Warns Iran Over Assassination: Expect a Response “1,000 Times Greater”

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After reports came out in the press this weekend saying that Iranian officials were contemplating a plan to assassinate the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks, in retaliation for the U.S.-led killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in January, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to let the Islamic Republic know in no uncertain terms that they would be making a catastrophic mistake.

“According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering U.S. Troops, and the death & suffering caused over so many years,” Trump tweeted. “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’s warning came after a feature story in Politico where it was reported that U.S. intelligence officials have intercepted chatter that suggests that top Iranian military officials were looking at Marks as a likely target for assassination.

“U.S. officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring, the officials said,” Politico reported. “But the intelligence about the threat to the ambassador has become more specific in recent weeks. The Iranian embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot, the U.S. government official said.”

As you might expect, Iranian officials in both Tehran and Pretoria have denied that there is any validity to the accusation. From the National Post:

“Such baseless claims are part of the Trump administration’s intelligence campaign against Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Monday in a statement.

A spokesman for South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said the U.S. official’s allegation took Pretoria by surprise.

“We only became aware of this report this morning,” Lunga Ngqengelele said by phone on Monday. Department of International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor may issue a statement later, he said.

Calls to Iran’s embassy in Pretoria weren’t answered and it didn’t immediately respond to a voice mail and email requesting comment.

It seems just this side of unbelievable that Iran would even consider what would be an international incident of extraordinary volatility, but then again, we’re talking about a country that thought nothing of launching missiles at our troops across the border in Iraq. We’re still guessing that a plot to kill Marks was more in the “here’s one of a thousand possibilities” stage than under any serious consideration, however; the Ayatollah is not quite that insane.

Even still, this is just further evidence that Trump made the right move when he pulled the nuclear deal off the table.