Iranian Charged in Plot to Kill Bolton

Killing was to be revenge for the death of a Revolutionary Guard commander, officials say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2022 2:23 PM CDT
US: Iranian Plotted to Have Bolton Assassinated
This image released by the FBI on Wednesday shows the wanted poster for Shahram Poursafi.   (FBI via AP)

(Newser) – The US has charged a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard with plotting to assassinate former national security adviser John Bolton. Shahram Poursafi, 45, offered late last year to pay $300,000 for the killing, the Daily Beast reports. The Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday that the slaying was to be retaliation for the death in January 2020 of Qasem Soleimani, a top commander in the Revolutionary Guard. Poursafi intended to have Bolton killed in Maryland or Washington, DC, per the New York Times.

"Iran's rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States," Bolton said in a statement after the federal court documents were unsealed. "Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing." Bolton is widely considered a hardliner on Iran; he was vehemently opposed to former President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with the country. He was former President Donald Trump's national security adviser for 17 months.

Poursafi could face 10 years in prison if convicted of using interstate commerce facilities in the plot and 15 more for attempting to provide material support for a transnational murder plot, per the Times. But he'd have to be taken into custody to face trial; the Justice Department said he's abroad. The FBI is asking for the public's help in locating him. A department official said this is "not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on US soil." Soleimani was one of seven people killed at Baghdad International Airport by a US drone strike. Bolton was out of government at that point but posted a tweet congratulating the Trump administration. (Read more John Bolton stories.)

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