Donald Trump has warned Tehran that he will order severe military action against Iran if he assassinates an American diplomat in retaliation for the American murder of a top Iranian general.
The US president issued the dramatic warning a day after the Politico news site reported that Iran was considering killing Lana Marks, the US ambassador to South Africa. Politico said any Iranian move would constitute retaliation for the US assassination in January of Qassem Soleimani, who was Iran’s most powerful military commander. The report has not been confirmed by other major US news agencies.
In a late-night tweet on Monday, Mr. Trump said that “according to news reports Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, on the United States in retaliation for the murder of terrorist leader Soleimani.”
“Any attack by Iran, in any form, on the United States will result in an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times the size!” he added.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether U.S. intelligence services believed Iran was considering an assassination.
Mr Trump issued the warning as he campaigned for re-election against Joe Biden, the former US vice president and his Democratic opponent, in November.
Tensions with Iran soared in January after the United States assassinated Soleimani. Fears that the murder could escalate into full-scale war increased after Iran responded to the assassination by launching attacks against US forces in Iraq.
After initially suggesting that he would use “disproportionate” force against Iranian retaliation, Mr. Trump responded to attacks on a US base in Iraq by threatening to impose more economic sanctions on Tehran.
Tensions remain high even as the threat of war has abated, especially as Washington has stepped up a campaign to punish Iran over Mr Trump’s 2018 decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal. history of 2015 negotiated by the Obama administration and its European allies with Tehran.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, accused European countries that were part of the deal with Iran – France, Germany and the UK – and the EU last month of siding ayatollahs for opposing US pressure to reimpose international sanctions against Islamists. Republic.
During his re-election campaign, Mr Trump argued that he kept his promise to withdraw in 2016 from the nuclear deal, which was signed when Mr Biden was US vice president.
Mr Biden accused Mr Trump of increasing tensions with Iran and “risk bringing us closer to another war in the Middle East without a realistic strategy or endgame.”
In a comment posted on CNN on Sunday, he said the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran had been a “boon to the Iranian regime and a failure for American interests.”
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