Iran planned to assassinate John Bolton, Washington says

There is a bounty on the head of John Bolton. US justice revealed on Wednesday a plot led by a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to assassinate the former national security adviser to the Trump administration’s White House. The plot, apparently intended to avenge the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, killed in January 2020 in a US strike, was revealed to authorities by the person believed to assassinate Bolton, whose identity has not been revealed.

The US Department of Justice said in a statement that Shahram Poursafi, alias Mehdi Rezayi, 45, was charged in his absence for having offered the payment of 300,000 dollars to individuals in the United States to kill John Bolton, who was also US ambassador to the UN and considered a hawk of US administrations, particularly on Iran and North Korea.

The US court’s accusations come as the Iranian regime is considering a compromise presented by the European Union to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, moribund since the United States withdrew in 2018 under the United States. impulse of Donald Trump, then advised by John Bolton.

FBI informant

For months, Tehran has tied any deal to a removal of the Revolutionary Guards, the Islamic Republic’s ideological army, from the US blacklist of terrorist organizations.

“This is not the first time that we have uncovered an Iranian plot for revenge on American soil and we will work tirelessly to uncover and prevent each such attempt,” the deputy minister of security said. Justice, Matthew Olsen.

According to the indictment, in late 2021, Shahram Poursafi came into contact with a person believed to carry out the assassination. It was actually a federal police informant (FBI), with whom he exchanged messages for months.

Cryptocurrencies

Shahram Poursafi ordered him to open a cryptocurrency account, then gave him the former adviser to Donald Trump’s work address, before urging him to put the plan into action before the first anniversary of Qassem Soleimani’s death .

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The powerful Iranian general, architect of Iran’s strategy in the Middle East, was the head of the Quds Force, the unit in charge of external operations within the Revolutionary Guards. He was killed on January 3, 2020 in a drone strike in Baghdad.

The anniversary date passed, Shahram Poursafi continued to push the informant to kill Mr Bolton, promising him a million dollar contract for a second target if he succeeded.

The FBI has published a wanted poster for Shahram Poursafi with several photos, two of which show him wearing the Revolutionary Guards uniform. If arrested, which is unlikely as he appears to be in Iran, Shahram Poursafi faces up to 25 years in prison.

“Severe” consequences

John Bolton, Donald Trump’s national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, called the 2015 nuclear deal a “major strategic mistake”. He had publicly supported Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from this pact, known by its English acronym JCPOA, which aims to guarantee the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

The indictment states that Mr. Bolton had been informed of the plot and cooperated with investigators, allowing photos of him taken outside his offices in Washington to be sent to Poursafi. In a statement, he called Iranian officials “liars, terrorists and enemies of the United States”, calling on President Joe Biden not to back out of the Iran deal.

Current White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted that Tehran faces “severe consequences” if it attacks current or past US officials.

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