On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice charged an Iranian military operative with plotting to assassinate former President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton. Bolton, who served as Trump’s third national security advisor for 17 months before resigning, was the main architect of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.
According to court documents, 45-year-old Shahram Poursafi of Tehran, Iran attempted to arrange the killing of Bolton in retaliation for the January 2020 U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s top commander, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who led a special forces unit of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard. Soleimani had been a key figure in Iranian and Middle East politics and his death exacerbated tension between Iran and the United States
Poursafi, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, 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. Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi, 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. If convicted, he 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. Additionally, he 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. Poursafi remains at large abroad.
In a statement, Bolton thanked the Justice Department, FBI and the Secret Service: “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.”
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