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A member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been charged with offering $300,000 to assassinate former national security adviser John Bolton, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
Shahram Poursafi, 45, was charged with providing and attempting to provide material support for a transnational assassination plot, as well as using interstate commerce facilities to commit murder for hire. He is still on the run.
Prosecutors say that beginning in October 2021, the 45-year-old tried to organize Bolton’s murder on behalf of the IRGC. “probably” in retaliation for the killing of IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani in a January 2020 airstrike at Baghdad international airport.
Bolton resigned from the Trump administration in September 2019, but praised the operation that killed Soleimani, tweeting at the time that he hoped “this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.”
“I want to thank the Department of Justice for initiating the criminal process opened today; to the FBI for their diligence in uncovering and tracking the Iranian regime’s criminal threat to American citizens; and the Secret Service for providing protection against Tehran’s efforts,” Bolton said in a statement shortly after Poursafi’s indictment was unsealed.
“While not much can be said publicly at this time, one point is indisputable: Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States. Its radical and anti-American goals have not changed, its commitments are worthless; and its global threat is growing,” he continued.
Bolton then used the opportunity to criticize the Biden administration’s insistence on re-entering the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying it would be “an unprecedented self-inflicted wound.”
“Iran’s nuclear weapons and terrorist activities are two sides of the same coin,” she said. “No responsible US government should think otherwise. America’s rejoining of the failed 2015 Iran nuclear deal would be an unparalleled self-inflicted wound, for us and our closest allies in the Middle East. I remain committed to making sure that doesn’t happen.”
While attempting to coordinate Bolton’s assassination, Poursafi contacted a “confidential human source” (CHS) and provided a Washington work address associated with the former national security official, as well as proof of funding for the hit, according to the report. Justice Department.
On November 19, 2021, the Iranian allegedly told an associate in the US that it did not matter how Bolton’s murder was carried out, but that his “group of him” needed video confirmation of death.
Over the next several weeks, Poursafi repeatedly told CHS that his “group” wanted the operation to go ahead quickly and that he was under pressure from “his people”.
On January 3, 2022, Poursafi allegedly mentioned that he regretted that Bolton’s assassination was not carried out before the anniversary of Soleimani’s death.
In February, Poursafi pressured CHS to kill Bolton within two weeks, threatening to take his job. However, he informed CHS the following month that he had a separate assassination job in the US and ordered him to “keep Behnam [his codename for Bolton] in the back of his mind.” the”.