The Iranian Government has denied a report claiming the country plans to assassinate the United States’ ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks.
Iran in a swift rebuttal on Monday denied the claims, describing them as baseless.
Citing two unnamed government officials, the Politico reported that authorities have been aware of a general threat against Ambassador Marks since the spring.
It added that intelligence services are not sure why Iran would target 66-year-old Marks, who was sworn in as the US ambassador in October 2019 and does not appear to have any known links to the country.
The report claimed that the Iranian embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot.
But, news of the plan comes as Iran continues to seek ways to retaliate following US President Donald Trump’s order to kill an Iranian General Qassem Soleimani earlier this year, the officials said.
Soleimani, the leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was killed in Baghdad, Iraq in a drone attack on January 3. The US had accused him of masterminding the attacks by Iran-aligned militias on US forces in the region.
However, the spokesperson Embassy of the Republic of Iran in Pretoria, Hamid Reza, denied the claims, calling them baseless.
Reza said Iran will provide you with more information soon.
One Killed As Protesters Demand El-Sisi’s Resignation
At least one person was killed during a protest against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi od Egypt’s government.
Thousands of protesters had on Friday defied a police crackdown to demonstrate against the Egyptian government for the sixth straight day.
The protests – dubbed by demonstrators as a “Friday of rage” – took place across cities, towns and rural areas in Egypt afternoon prayers, including in the capital, Cairo.
Videos of the protests on social media showed protesters burning tyres and chanting: “say it out loud and don’t be scared, el-Sisi has got to go”
In another protesters and riot police squared off in a neighbourhood before police charged at the crowd, causing people to scatter in all directions.
One video purportedly taken in the village of Kafr Saad in Damietta showed police wielding guns as they attempted to disperse protesters.
A 25-year-old protester, Sami Wagdy Bashir, was reportedly killed in al-Blida village in the Giza governorate.
Three others were wounded in the same shooting, the Najda human rights group said.
Mohamed Ali, a prominent opposition figure and a former military contractor living in exile, offered condolences to Bashir’s family.
In some areas, the protests continued late into the night, videos posted online by activists showed.
Several people were also arrested.
The latest wave of anti-government rallies was triggered by el-Sisi’s decision to demolish what he called illegal construction nationwide. Many of the affected neighbourhoods house some of the country’s poorest communities, many who have already been suffering because of the ailing economy, made worse by the coronavirus lockdown.
The demonstrations also come a year after a limited protest movement kindled by Ali, who accused the government of wasting money on lavish construction projects.
The protests last year triggered a wide-ranging crackdown, with Amnesty International saying at least 4,000 people were arrested.
Protests have become very rare in Egypt under el-Sisi, who has banned unauthorised demonstrations after taking power in 2013 following the military’s removal of then-President Mohammad Morsi.
Ahead of Friday’s protests, Ali called on Egyptians to take to the streets again in a video posted on Facebook, saying, “This is our chance to liberate our country.”
Togolese Prime Minister, Government Resign
Togolese Prime Minister, Komi Selom Klassou, and his government have resigned in a political reshuffle delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Klassou has served as prime minister since 2015.
The country’s president, Faure Gnassingbe, who won re-election in February, is set to appoint a new PM shortly.
Gnassingbe, disclosed the development in a statement on the presidency’s official website on Friday, congratulating the Cabinet for its work while in office.
Gnassingbe congratulated Klassou and his team for their “economic, political and social efforts and the encouraging results despite the health crisis around the world.”
A governmental change has been anticipated since President Gnassingbe re-election which extended his 15-year-old rule and a family dynasty that began when his father took power in a 1967 coup.
The presidency did not say when a new prime minister would be appointed.
Ahead of the February election, a fractured opposition struggled to launch a concerted campaign to unseat Gnassingbe despite widespread disaffection with his leadership of the small West African country of 8 million people.
ECOWAS Gives Condition For Lifting Mali’s Sanction
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will not lift economic sanctions it slammed on Mali following a coup five weeks ago, the bloc said on Friday.
ECOWAS had imposed strict sanctions, which aralysed the landlocked country’s economy, after the Aug. 18 coup that overthrew Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as president.
The 15-member regional bloc said the blockade will be lifted after a civilian prime minister has been nominated.
The sanctions “will be lifted when a civilian prime minister is named”, ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said on Friday.
The announcement came shortly after Mali’s new president, Colonel Bah N’Daou (retd), was sworn in at a ceremony in the capital Bamako
N’Daou, a former defence minister, was picked by the coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, to head a transitional government until elections are held.
The elections are expected to hold in 18 months.
N’daou, 70, took the oath of office in front of several hundred military officers, political leaders and diplomats. Col Goita was sworn in as vice president during a ceremony in the capital Bamako.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony, the new president said: “The charter is my guidebook.
“Mali has given me everything. I am happy to be its submissive slave, willing to do everything for it to return to full constitutional legality, with elected authorities, legitimate representatives.
“The transition period which begins will not dispute any international undertaking by Mali, nor the agreements signed by the government.”
N’daou, who also served as defence minister in 2014 and previously headed the air force, has been described by former colleagues as “principled”.
In his inaugural address, he said he would crack down on graft, one of the main complaints against Keita’s government, and stamp out abuses of civilians by the armed forces.
Besides fearing that the coup could undermine their own power, presidents in the wider Sahel region are concerned prolonged uncertainty could jeopardise a joint campaign against Islamist militants centred in northern and central Mali.
A previous coup in Mali in 2012 helped hasten the fall of the desert north to al Qaeda-linked militants, forcing a French intervention the following year to drive them back.
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