Cape Town (TT) – A spokesman for South Africa’s Foreign Ministry has said that the United States’ allegations that Iran plans to kill the U.S. ambassador to Pretoria to avenge the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani took South Africa by surprise.
“We only became aware of this report this morning,” Lunga Ngqengelele said by phone on Monday, Bloomberg reported.
In a report published by Politico on Sunday, it is claimed that Iran is plotting an assassination attempt against the U.S. ambassador to South Africa to retaliate for Soleimani’s assassination.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Monday rejected the report and called it “customer-made, biased and purposeful”.
Noting that Politico has tried to portray its claim as real by referring to the remarks of an “apparent American official”, Khatibzadeh said, “We advise the United States’ officials to stop resorting to repeated and decayed methods to create anti-Iran commotion at the international arena.”
He noted that Iran is a “responsible” member of the international community and has always been committed to international diplomatic principles.
Calling the new report part of the Trump administration’s “disinformation campaign” against Iran, Khatibzadeh said, “The United States regime’s resort to leveling accusations and spreading lies against Iran was predictable especially on the eve of the United States’ presidential elections concurrent with the pressures that this regime is applying to exploit the United Nations Security Council’s mechanisms with the purpose of increasing pressure on the Iranian people.”
Elsewhere, Khatibzadeh said that Iran will never forgive or forget the assassination of Soleimani and will pursue the case legally.
Abbas Mousavi, Iran’s ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, has warned the United States that the revenge for the cowardly assassinating of General Soleimani, who was recognized as a global hero in the campaign against terrorism, “is much much more than the ill-fated American ambassador” in South Africa.
On January 3, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered airstrikes that martyred General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), in Baghdad’s international airport.
Soleimani was recognized internationally as a legendary commander in the war against terrorist groups, especially Daesh (ISIS). Only Daesh celebrated Soleimani’s assassination.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Mohsen Baharvand said in June that Iran will pursue the Soleimani assassination in international bodies.
“Diplomatic complaints have been filed through sending letters to the [UN] Security Council and UN Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres]. We are pursuing the case and completing our investigation in the Foreign Ministry. After that, international actions will be taken,” Baharvand told the IRIB in an interview.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaeili said during a press conference in January that Iran will file lawsuits against Trump and the U.S. government for the assassination of Soleimani.
“We intend to file lawsuits in the Islamic Republic, Iraq and The Hague Court (International Court of Justice) against the military and government of America and against Trump,” he said.
Judiciary Chief Hojjatoleslam Ebrahim Raeisi said in August that Iran’s Judiciary and Foreign Ministry are adamant in legally pursuing the assassination of Soleimani.
“Blood of martyr Soleimani has affected elements behind his terror, and the regional people’s awareness will lead to the United States’ exit from the region,” the chief judge said during a meeting of the Judiciary’s supreme council.
This post was originally written for and published by Tehran Times and appears here with permission.