News of assassination plot of US amb. bizarre: South Africa

TEHRAN, Sep. 18 (MNA) – Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa Naledi Pandor has described a US news story that Iran was plotting to assassinate Ambassador Lana Marks as very strange.

She was speaking in an exclusive interview with the SABC News, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly’s High Level week, which begins on Monday next week in New York.

Pandor says she was not  given a heads up before the Politico story broke.

“It is a matter of the protection services and that which is provided to our diplomats, we have assured them through the statement of State Security Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo,  that South Africa  believes diplomats in our country are safe and should there be a need for additional measures, these would be taken and obviously we will ask and Minister Dlodlo would seek more information from her colleagues in the Security sector in the United States,” she said.

“But it’s been a very strange public statement and of course our friends in Iran are as surprised as we were. I find it surprising, why would Iran being a very good friend of South Africa come and commit a horrendous act in a country which has been a good friend to Iran, and of such a nature ? I can only describe it as bizarre and let me stop there.”

Citing unnamed US officials, Politica claimed that Iran was weighing to assassinate US Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks in response to the US’ assassination of top Iranian commander, Qassem Soleimani.

Tehran has dismissed the report as ‘lie’. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh urged American officials to “stop resorting to hackneyed and outworn methods to create an Iranophobic atmosphere on the international arena.”

ZZ/5026555/PR

News Code 163653

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