The US accuses the Iranian of plotting to assassinate John Bolton

National Security Advisor John Bolton answers reporters’ questions as he announces that the U.S. will pull out of a treaty with Iran during a news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington October 3, 2018.

Jonathan Ernest | Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday charged an Iranian national with plotting an assassination of former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton.

Shahram Poursafi, 45, of Tehran, Iran, tried to arrange the assassination of Bolton in retaliation for the January 2020 US airstrike that killed Iran’s commander in chief, General Qasem Soleimani, according to court documents.

Soleimani, who led a special unit of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, had been a key figure in Iranian and Middle Eastern politics, and his death exacerbated already high tensions between Iran and the United States and raised concerns about retaliatory actions by Iranian forces.

Bolton, who served as Trump’s third national security adviser for 17 months before stepping down, was the chief architect of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. Bolton advocated escalating economic sanctions and threats of retaliation for Iran’s vicious behavior.

National Security Advisor John Bolton (right) attends a meeting with President Donald Trump and Chilean President Sebastian Piñera in the Oval Office of the White House September 28, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Oliver Contreras | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Poursafi, a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, tried in October 2021 to pay individuals in the United States a $300,000 reward for carrying out the conspiracy in either Washington, DC or Maryland.

Poursafi told a contact about the job that it didn’t matter how the murder was carried out, but that he needed video confirmation of Bolton’s death. He asked the person several times when the murder would be carried out and told the person that it had to be quick.

Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi, was accused of using interstate trade facilities to commit assassinations and of providing material support and attempting to aid a transnational assassination plot.

If convicted, Poursafi faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for using interstate trade facilities in committing contract killing. In addition, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for financially supporting and attempting to aid a cross-border assassination plot.

Poursafi remains at large abroad.

In a statement following the indictment, Bolton thanked the Justice Department, the FBI and Secret Service.

“While not much can be said publicly at this time, one point is undeniable: the rulers of Iran are liars, terrorists and enemies of the United States,” Bolton said in a statement. “Your radical, anti-American goals are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing,” he added. The US accuses the Iranian of plotting to assassinate John Bolton

Joshua Buckhalter

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