Politico claimed on Sunday that Iran is considering an attempt to murder Lana Marks to avenge America’s assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani earlier this year. The news website citied an unidentified US government official as saying that intelligence about the alleged attempt has become more specific in recent weeks.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said the "biased and agenda-driven" report published in the American media outlet cited the statements of a seemingly US government official in an effort to make it appear true.
“We advise American officials to stop resorting to hackneyed and outworn methods to create Iranophobic atmosphere on the international arena,” spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a responsible member of the international community, has demonstrated its continued adherence to the principles and customs of international diplomacy,” Khatibzadeh said.
A spokesman for South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said the US official’s allegation took Pretoria by surprise.
“We only became aware of this report this morning,” Lunga Ngqengelele said. Department of International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor may issue a statement later, he said.
Politico wrote that Marks had likely been chosen due to her closeness to US President Donald Trump.
Khatibzadeh said baseless allegations such as the one published in the Politico are "part of the Trump administration's counter-intelligence campaign against Iran."
"The US regime's resort to anti-Iranian accusations and lies in the run-up to the US presidential election, and at the same time its pressure to abuse UN Security Council mechanisms to increase pressure on the Iranian people, was predictable,” the spokesman added.
Khatibzadeh noted that “such moves and news fabrications, probably to continue in the future” but will certainly remain “futile”.
"In contrast, it is the United States and the current regime in the White House that, especially in recent years, has shown its disregard for basic diplomatic principles and become a pariah regime in the international arena with numerous actions outside the internationally-accepted methods and norms, including the design and execution of dozens of assassination plans and military and intelligence interventions, withdrawal from numerous international agreements, violation of territorial integrity and the cowardly assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the glorious commander of the fight against terrorism," he said.
On January 3, the United States assassinated Lieutenant General Soleimani along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units and several other companions, outside Baghdad airport.
Iran responded by firing a volley of ballistic missiles at US forces based in Iraq, which left about 110 American troops injured.
Khatibzadeh said that Iran will continue to pursue international legal action in connection with “the criminal and cowardly assassination of Gen. Soleimani at all levels, and will neither forgive nor forget this terrorist act."
Press TV and Bloomberg contributed to this story.