Updated Sep 15, 2020 - World

Trump: U.S. will respond "1,000 times greater" to any attack by Iran

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Xtreme Manufacturing on September 13

President Trump during a Monday campaign event in Henderson, Nevada. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

President Trump responded late Monday to reports that Iran plans to avenge the January killing in an American airstrike of a top general, Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

What he's saying: "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!" Trump tweeted.

Driving the news: Trump noted news reports this week that said Iran "may be planning an assassination, or other attack, against the United States in retaliation" for killing Soleimani.

  • Politico first reported on Monday night that the Iranian government was considering an assassination attempt on Lana Marks, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, citing U.S. intelligence officials.
  • The State Department's Bureau of Global Public Affairs declined to comment when contacted by Axios, but an intelligence source told Fox News the threat is being taken seriously and that Marks is among "several U.S. officials that American intelligence agencies believe Tehran is considering for retaliation for the killing of Soleimani."
  • Iran denies the reports.

The big picture: Soleimani was the revered leader of the elite Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the U.S. designated as a terrorist group last year, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Soleimani would be regarded as a terrorist leader — on par with then-ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

  • In April, Trump tweeted that he had instructed the U.S. Navy to "shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea," after the American military reported that 11 small IRGC vessels had surrounded and harassed six U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in international waters in the northern Gulf.
  • That flash-point subsided, and the Trump administration has more recently focused on a campaign to have international sanctions imposed again on Iran after they were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal that the president withdrew the U.S. from.

Flashback: Inside Trump's obsession with Iranian gunboats

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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