The Justice Department on Wednesday charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, alleging that he attempted to arrange the murder of former Trump national security adviser John Bolton in 2020.
The DOJ accused the suspect, Shahram Poursafi, of attempting to pay individuals $300,000 to murder Bolton in D.C. or Maryland. Poursafi remains at large abroad, the DOJ said. If Poursafi is found and convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire. Additionally, Poursafi faces up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000 for providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot.
The DOJ said the plot to attempt to kill Bolton was likely devised in retaliation for the death of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, a top commander of the Revolutionary Guard, in Jan. 2020. Then-President Trump authorized the drone strike that killed Soleimani. Trump at the time said that the authorization was justified because of an “imminent” threat Soleimani posed to four U.S. embassies.
Bolton served as a national security adviser under the Trump administration for 17 months. Bolton resigned in Sept. 2019, reportedly due to disagreements with Trump over major foreign policy challenges such as sanctions on Iran and the handling of relations with North Korea.
In a statement released after the DOJ’s indictment of Poursafi, Bolton thanked the DOJ, FBI and Secret Service, and took aim at Iran’s leaders.
“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 in a statement. “Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing.”