The U.S. Intelligence and government officials detailed in intelligence papers that Iran is contemplating an assassination attempt against America's ambassador to South Africa.
According to officials, they have been aware of the threats towards Ambassador Lana Marks since the spring, but the intelligence detail has suddenly become more specific in recent weeks.
The 66-year-old ambassador has been made aware of the threat to her life. The Iranian embassy in South Africa, located in the capital Pretoria, is said to be involved in the plot, according to Politico.
The plot to kill the ambassador would act as a revenge attack after President Donald Trump decided to kill General Qassem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian general.
However, such a move might also result in another attack from President Trump in a show of power and strength, especially since the U.S. presidential election is fast approaching.
General Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike in January 2020. At the time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. killed Soleimani to re-establish a deterrent against Iran.
The general led the Quds Force, a unit of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that oversees much of Iran's military activities outside its borders. Americans blame him for the death of dozens of U.S. troops in the region.
After Soleimani's death, Iran took their anger to the streets and issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 other people who were involved in the death of the general, according to BBC.
Who is Ambassador Marks?
Lana Marks has known President Trump for more than 20 years and became the U.S. ambassador on October 2019. Marks is a member of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago and was among the few women in Princess Diana's inner circle before her death.
Before becoming a diplomat, Marks was known for her six-figure handbags, clutched by Hollywood celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Kate Winslet.
The U.S. Intelligence did not know why the Iranians want to target Marks, but it is likely due to her long-standing friendship with President Trump, as the attack on her life would be more personal, according to The Sun.
U.S. intelligence officials have also suggested that carrying out an attack in South Africa could be easier than targeting American diplomats in other parts of the world where relationships between the U.S. and the said country are great.
According to Intelligence officials, carrying out an attack in South Africa could be easier than targeting American diplomats in other parts of the world where improved relationships between the U.S. and local police and national intelligence services could see an attack foiled.
After the killing of General Soleimani, President Trump noted that the general had been plotting to attack American diplomatic missions.
Trump said in January that they were looking to "blow up our embassy" and that "I can reveal I believe it probably would've been four embassies."
General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the U.S. Central Command, said that he had been expecting a response from Iran over the U.S.' presence in Iraq.
On September 9, McKenzie confirmed plans to cut the U.S. troop presence in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 by the end of September.