Iran's Foreign Ministry on Monday lambasted a report in the US about an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa in revenge for the killing of the top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
"We advise US officials to refrain from resorting to repetitive and rotten methods to create an anti-Iranian atmosphere on the international stage," the ministry's spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to the Xinhua news agency.
The comments follow a report on Sunday in the Politico website which said that the Iranian government is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa.
News of the plot comes as Iran continues to seek ways to retaliate for the US elimination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani earlier this year, the officials said. If carried out, it could dramatically ratchet up already serious tensions between the US and Iran and create enormous pressure on Trump to strike back, possibly in the middle of an election season.
Iran retaliated for the killing of Soleimani by launching a barrage of missiles on two Iraqi military bases hosting American troops. 34 service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury as a result of the attack.
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, said in June that the elimination of Soleimani had “significant effect” in deterring the Iranian threat.
Iran, Khatibzadeh said on Monday, is a responsible member of the international community and has demonstrated its continued adherence to international diplomatic principles and customs, while the "current regime in the White House" has perpetrated countless actions outside internationally accepted standards.
The Iranian spokesman cited as examples "the (US) design and execution of dozens of assassination plans and military and intelligence interventions," its withdrawal of "numerous" international agreements and violation of the territorial integrity of countries.
The United States, Khatibzadeh noted, has become an "rebellious regime" in the international arena.
The "baseless" and "purposeful" allegations in the press report are "part of the Trump administration's counter-intelligence campaign against Iran ... in the run-up to the US presidential election" in November, he added.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump responded on Monday night to the reports that Iran had planned to assassinate the US ambassador in South Africa.
"According to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Soleimani, which was carried out for his planning a future attack, murdering U.S. Troops, and the death & suffering caused over so many years. Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!" he tweeted.