On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice announced charges against a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for his involvement in an Iranian plot to assassinate former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The US Department of Justice claims that 45-year-old Shahram Poursafi, alias Mehdi Rezayi, offered $300,000 to a US citizen for the assassination of former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton.
The Justice Department has stated that this scheme was likely devised as retaliation for the January 2020 killing by the United States of senior Guard commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
This claim has surfaced as Iran considers a proposal made in Vienna discussions to restore the 2015 accord that attempts to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Iran has been holding up the accord for months because it is asking that the United States stop labeling the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization supporter.
US Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen stated, “This is not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on US soil, and we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt every one of these efforts.”
The charges state that beginning in October 2021, Poursafi contacted an unnamed person in the United States online, claiming he wanted to commission photographs of Bolton. This was a cover for an attempt to arrange Bolton’s murder.
This contact then forwarded the Iranian to a third party whom Poursafi had asked to carry out the murder of Bolton.
After some negotiation, his initial offer of $250,000 was raised to $300,000.
According to the DOJ, “Poursafi added that he had an additional ‘job,'” for which he would pay $1 million.
It has been revealed in court documents that the second individual was a confidential source for the FBI in the United States.
“Hawk” on international affairs
The phony hitman waited patiently for the first installment of $100 in cryptocurrency, which was finally sent by Poursafi at the very end of April.
Among the charges against Poursafi are those of providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot,
which carries a 15-year sentence, and using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, which carries a 10-year sentence.
From April 2018 to September 2019, Bolton served as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor in the White House. Bolton is widely recognized as one of the most prominent “hawks” in the US foreign policy establishment and an outspoken critic of Iran.
From 2005 to 2006, he served as the United States ambassador under President George W. Bush.
He was totally against the nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s major powers in 2015, and he backed Trump’s decision to withdraw from it in May of this year.
Based on the evidence shown in court, it appears that Bolton was aware of the conspiracy and helped investigators by enabling images of him taken outside of his Washington office to be transmitted to Poursafi.
At some point during the months that Poursafi and his US contact talked about the project, he let out that it had something to do with Tehran getting its revenge on the United States for the assassination of Soleimani.
Soleimani oversaw Iran’s network of proxies and friends in the Gulf region during his time as head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.
On January 7, 2020, shortly after he arrived at Baghdad’s airport, he was the target of a US drone strike.
Since then, Tehran has promised vengeance, and US officials have claimed that Iran was planning to assassinate American officials.
Some have speculated that former CIA director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also on Tehran’s hit list before the murder of Soleimani.
Pompeo claimed at the time that Soleimani was planning massive attacks on US targets like embassies.
Bolton issued a statement praising the work of the FBI and Justice Department and calling the Iranian government “liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States.”
He pleaded with Vice President Biden not to bring back the nuclear agreement.
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