An Iranian military operative was charged by The Department of Justice with plotting to assassinate former President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton. According to court documents, the 45-year-old Shahram Poursafi of Tehran, Iran, tried to arrange the killing of Bolton in retaliation for the January 2020 U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s top commander, Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
Soleimani had been a key figure in Iranian and Middle East politics. He led a special forces unit of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, and his death exacerbated already-high tensions between Iran and the United States and triggered concerns of retaliation from Iranian forces. Bolton was the main architect of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. He also favored escalating economic sanctions and threats of retaliation for Iran’s malign behavior. He served as Trump’s third national security advisor for 17 months before resigning.
A member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and working on behalf of the group, Poursafi attempted to pay individuals in the United States in October 2021 a reward of $300,000 to carry out the plot in either Washington, D.C., or Maryland. It did not matter how the murder was carried out but that he would need video confirmation of Bolton’s death, Poursafi told one person in contact about the job. Multiple times the person was asked by him when the murder would be carried out and informed the person that it needed to be done quickly, reported CNBC.
Poursafi is also known as Mehdi Rezayi, and he remains at large abroad. He was charged with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire and with providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot. Poursafi faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 for the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, if convicted. He also faces up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 for providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot.
“While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable: Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States. Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless and their global threat is growing,” Bolton said in a statement.
Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security advisor slammed the assassination plot in a statement. Sullivan wrote in the statement: “We have said this before and we will say it again: the Biden Administration will not waiver in protecting and defending all Americans against threats of violence and terrorism.” “Should Iran attack any of our citizens, to include those who continue to serve the United States or those who formerly served, Iran will face severe consequences,” said Sullivan.
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