Iran planned to assassinate America's ambassador to South Africa in retaliation for a U.S. drone attack that killed Iran Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January, U.S. intelligence reports said.

A longtime friend of U.S. President Donald Trump, Ambassador Lana Marks was selected by the Senate in a majority vote last year. Marks was told about the threat to her life, Politico said quoting unidentified people.

Politico reported that the U.S. had information about the assassination plot against Marks since early this year but it had become "more specific" in the past weeks.

The Islamic republic has been seeking retaliation for the death of Soleimani, U.S. officials said. At the time, U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said the U.S. killed the Iran general to reinforce its deterrence against Iran.

The plot could significantly worsen already escalating frictions between the U.S. and Iran if it was attempted. It would create a political burden for Trump to retaliate to - possibly in the middle of an election.

For years, Soleimani was considered a central and most dangerous figure by Iran's enemies in the Middle East and elsewhere. He was viewed by many Iranians as a hero, the Independent reported.

Iran eventually retaliated by launching a missile strike against a military installation operated by U.S. and Iraq forces - wounding more than 100 American servicemen. No one was killed.

Reacting to the news of the plot, Iran's Foreign Ministry representative Saeed Khatibzadeh said Sept. 14 said such unfounded allegations were part of the "information campaign of Trump's government" against Iran.

The official said these methods may likely be reapplied in the future and would, without a doubt, remain worthless and "add to the long list of America's failures" in its dispute with Iran.

Marks has yet to issue a public statement about the assassination plot. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, State Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence didn't comment on the Politico story.