Iran tried to assassinate U.S. official John Bolton, a former Trump advisor

Iranian national offered $300,000 to kill former US National Security Advisor John Bolton in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani.

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps with plotting to assassinate former President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, in an apparent retaliation for the U.S. airstrike that killed senior Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.

Tehran has vowed over and over to avenge Soleimani’s death, with Trump topping the list of targets.

According to the prosecution, Tehran resident Shahram Poursafi attempted to pay out $300,000 in hitman fees to an unnamed individual for Bolton’s murder.

Last October Poursafi made contact with a U.S. resident who turned out to be an FBI informant, asking him to take photographs of Bolton for a book he was allegedly writing. The informant introduced him to an associate who he subsequently contacted on an encrypted messaging app.

Poursafi asked the informant and his associate if he could hire someone to eliminate Bolton, and negotiated a fee of $300,000. He told the associate that the “group” he represents insisted the fee was paid out on completion of the hit job, and instructed him to open a cryptocurrency account, court documents said.

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Poursafi also said the murder should be done “by car,” and recommended the garage in Bolton’s building since it was a “high traffic” zone, but ultimately said it didn’t matter how Bolton dies, the only prerequisite was to send a video confirmation of his death.

The associate expressed hesitation, and allegedly said he did not have much background in espionage or targeted killings.

Poursafi allegedly reassured him: “It’s like crossing the street: it’s better not to spend too much time looking in one direction, but just to do it.”

The associate eventually told Poursafi that he had found a Mexican assassin with links to a cartel to carry out the murder. Poursafi assured him that all three people involved would be protected.

In January, Poursafi lamented that the job had still not been completed and would not happen in time for the anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination.

It is not clear how the murder was thwarted.

Poursafi, who has not been arrested, was charged with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, for which he faces a 10-year maximum prison sentence, and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot, which carries up to 15 years in prison.

Bolton, a staunch opponent of the nuclear deal with Iran, thanked the Justice Department, FBI and Secret Service in a statement.

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“While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable: 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. No responsible U.S. government should think otherwise,” Bolton said.

“America re-entering the failed 2015 Iran nuclear deal would be an unparalleled self-inflicted wound, to ourselves and our closes Middle East allies. I remain committed to making sure it does not happen.”