Iran plotted to assassinate Bolton, Pompeo

The US Justice Department on Wednesday charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with an attempt to assassinate former US National Security Advisor, John Bolton."
Former US national security adviser John Bolton (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP).
Former US national security adviser John Bolton (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP).

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – The US Justice Department on Wednesday charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with an attempt to assassinate former US National Security Advisor, John Bolton.

In addition, the charging documents against Shahram Poursafi, who is also known as Mehdi Rezayi, alluded to a second assassination plot, targeting former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In addition, in July 2021, federal authorities in New York charged that Iranian intelligence had plotted to kidnap an Iranian-American journalist, Masih Alinejad. who works for the Voice of America’s Persian Service and for Radio Farda.

A year later, on July 29, a man with an assault rifle was arrested outside Alinejad’s home in Brooklyn. Subsequently, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan telephoned her and her husband, Kambiz Foroohar.

“On behalf of President Biden,” Sullivan “expressed his profound concern” over Alinejad’s “physical safety and that of her family,” according to a White House read-out of their discussion.

He “also affirmed that the U.S. Government will use all tools at its disposal to disrupt and deter threats from Iran, including those which target U.S. citizens and dissidents living in the United States.”

These plots, nonetheless, did not inhibit US efforts to revive the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which, if agreed upon, would have lifted sanctions, allowing Iran to sell oil freely and providing it access to large sums of frozen assets.

Speaking on CNN on Wednesday evening, Bolton blasted the Biden administration, affirming that its unrelenting efforts to renew the nuclear deal, had sent “signals of weakness to Iran and around the world.”

Details of Plot against Bolton

The plot against Bolton, as well as Pompeo, were Iranian retaliation against the U.S. for the assassination of the commander of the Qods Force of the IRGRC, Qasim Soleimani, in January 2020.

Bolton was Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor from April 2018 to September 2019. According to an FBI document in support of the criminal proceeding, the plot to assassinate Bolton began in October 2021, when he had already been out of office for over two years, and it lasted until April 2022.

In 2021, Poursafi met a person through social media, the FBI explained. On October 22, 2021, Poursafi asked that person, who is referred to as “Individual A,” to find someone who could take pictures of Bolton, saying that he needed such pictures for a book he was writing.

Individual A responded that he “could introduce Poursafi to an associate who could take the photographs and videos as requested.” The associate, however, was an informant for the FBI—or became one over the course of the plot. He is referred to in the FBI document as “Confidential Human Source” (CHS.) The following month, as Poursafi established contact with the CHS, Poursafi asked if he “could hire someone for ‘them’ for $200,000 in order to ‘eliminate someone.’”

The lengthy FBI document then details Poursafi’s tasking of the CHS and his repeated direction to assassinate Bolton.

Poursafi initially offered $200,000 for the murder. The CHS bumped it up to $300,000 and then strung Poursafi along without taking action, until the investigation ended in April 2022.

In the course of his exchanges with the CHS, Poursafi “also said that he had a second job for $1 million,” the FBI said. That, as was subsequently reported, was the assassination of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Amb. Bolton’s Response

After news of the charges against Poursafi emerged on Wednesday, Bolton issued a statement thanking the Justice Department and FBI for their efforts, as well as the Secret Service for the protection it provided him, as events proceeded.

Bolton also denounced the Iranian regime, as well as the Biden administration’s policy of accommodating Tehran.

“Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States,” Bolton said. “Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing.”

“Iran’s nuclear-weapons and terrorist activities are two sides of the same coin,” Bolton continued. “America re-entering the failed 2015 Iran nuclear deal would be an unparalleled self-inflicted wound, to ourselves and our closest Middle East allies,” and “I remain committed to making sure it does not happen.”

Indeed, despite two recent “last-ditch” efforts by the European Union (EU) to revive the nuclear deal, including one just last week, an agreement still appears elusive—not because the US won’t accept the EU’s terms, but because the Iranians won’t.

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