Justice Department charges Iranian IRGC member with plotting to murder John Bolton

The suspect allegedly offered $300,000 for the assassination of Bolton.

Published: August 10, 2022 11:21am

Updated: August 10, 2022 1:02pm

The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced charges against a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for allegedly plotting to murder former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Iranian national Shahram Poursafi, who also goes by Mehdi Rezayi, allegedly started his plan to murder Bolton in October 2021 "in retaliation for the January 2020 death of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) commander Qasem Soleimani," according to the DOJ press release.

Poursafi, 45, offered a confidential source $250,000 to hire someone to "eliminate" Bolton. The amount was later negotiated to $300,000. He later told the source he had another "job" that he was willing to pay $1 million for, the DOJ stated.

Former President Donald Trump listed the IRGC, a branch of the Iranian military, as a U.S. designated terrorist organization. Experts were concerned earlier this year that President Joe Biden would remove the IRGC from the terrorist list as part of his negotiations to revive the Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran.

Last month, the Biden administration decided to allow some terrorist-affiliated migrants into the United States.

Bolton told the "John Solomon Reports" podcast in July that Biden was "trying to mitigate the effect of that designation" by allowing questionable migrants in but not removing the terrorist designation from the IRGC.

"It's another sign of bending the knee to the Ayatollah in Iran," he said. "And it's a signal to terrorists all around the world that the U.S. just doesn't have staying power."

Bolton is sanctioned by Iran along with dozens of other U.S. officials for standing against the regime in Tehran.

The DOJ vowed to protect American citizens against Iran on Wednesday.

"The Justice Department has the solemn duty to defend our citizens from hostile governments who seek to hurt or kill them," Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said. "This is not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on U.S. soil and we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt every one of these efforts."

If convicted, Poursafi faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for using interstate commerce in a murder-for-hire plot. He also faces an additional 15 years in prison and another $250,000 fine for "providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot," the DOJ stated.

Poursafi remains at large overseas.

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