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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.

Go deeper

U.S. considering closing Iraqi embassy after rocket attack

Iraqi police forces stand guard near the US Embassy in Baghdad on Monday, a day after several rockets were fired into Baghdad's Green Zone. Photo: Ameer Al Mohammedaw/picture alliance via Getty Images

The United States is considering quickly closing its embassy in Baghdad after a series of rocket attacks on Iraq's Green Zone by Iranian-backed militias, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: The move, among several options being considered, could be a prelude to retaliation against Iran, which President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have highlighted as a state sponsor of terror. "Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over," the president tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Dec 23, 2020 - World

Scoop: Israel tries to use Milley as conduit to Biden on Iran

Milley in a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty

Israel used the recent visit by Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to pass on several messages to the incoming Biden administration regarding Iran and other regional developments, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israel is very concerned about President-elect Biden's plans on Iran and the 2015 nuclear deal, but has yet to open direct contacts with the incoming administration. Milley is a potential bridge to Biden's White House because he is expected to stay on beyond the transition.

Dec 23, 2020 - World

Report: Iran online drive targeted officials debunking Trump election claims

FBI Director Christopher Wray during an October news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Investigators found Iran was behind an online drive to incite lethal violence against FBI Director Chris Wray and other officials who refuted President Trump and his supporters' baseless election claims, the Washington Post first reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: The FBI's findings on the "Enemies of the People" site, which outlets report included officials' addresses and other personal details with photos of them featuring crosshairs, indicate Iran has tried to cause discord in the U.S. before and after the election.