What is Iran to do? The Trump administration has successfully rallied Sunni Arab nations against its hegemonic ambitions — so much so that they’re willing to even recognize Israel to keep US support in place against Iran. Its military adventure in Syria has settled into an endless quagmire, backing the unpopular despot Bashar al-Assad, who will fall the second Iran withdraws. Their heavy-handedness has Iraqis pushing back, even their Shi’ite allies. Their Hezbollah proxies in Lebanon are under fire for their corruption and mismanagement following the Beirut explosion.
With all of those problems in place, Politico reports that Tehran might try to pick a fight with the US as payback for the death of Qassem Soleimani. Reportedly, one option would be the assassination of an American ambassador:
The Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa, U.S. intelligence reports say, according to a U.S. government official familiar with the issue and another official who has seen the intelligence.
News of the plot comes as Iran continues to seek ways to retaliate for President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a powerful Iranian general earlier this year, the officials said. If carried out, it could dramatically ratchet up already serious tensions between the U.S. and Iran and create enormous pressure on Trump to strike back — possibly in the middle of a tense election season.
U.S. officials have been aware of a general threat against the ambassador, Lana Marks, since the spring, the officials said. 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.
Still, attacking Marks is one of several options U.S. officials believe Iran’s regime is considering for retaliation since the general, Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated by a U.S. drone strike in January. At the time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. killed Soleimani to re-establish deterrence against Iran.