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US exposes Iran’s ‘plot’ to assassinate former White House official John Bolton

#exposes #Irans #plot #assassinate #White #House #official #John #Bolton

The US Department of Justice said on Wednesday it had uncovered an Iranian plot to assassinate former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton and announced charges against a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Justice Department said 45-year-old Shahram Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi, offered to pay an individual in the United States $300,000 to kill Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations.

The Justice Department said the plan was likely set in retaliation for the US assassination of top guard commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.

The accusation came as Iran weighed a proposed deal in Vienna to revive the 2015 deal aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

For months, Tehran has stalled the deal, demanding that the United States revoke its official designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a sponsor of terrorism.

“This is not the first time we have uncovered Iranian conspiracies to exact revenge against individuals on U.S. soil, and we will work tirelessly to uncover and disrupt each of these efforts,” US Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said.

According to the charges, Poursafi was attempting to arrange Bolton’s murder beginning in October 2021, when he contacted an unidentified person online in the United States and initially said he wanted to commission photos of Bolton.

That person passed the Iranian on to another contact, who Poursafi then asked to kill Bolton.

He offered $250,000 which was then negotiated to $300,000.

“Poursafi added that he has an additional ‘job’ that he would pay $1 million for,” the Justice Department said.

But that second person was a confidential source for the US Federal Bureau of Identification, according to court documents.

– Foreign policy “hawk” –

The alleged assassin stopped and awaited an initial payment, but it wasn’t until late April that Poursafi sent money, paying a total of $100 in cryptocurrency.

Poursafi has been accused of using interstate trade facilities in committing contract killing, which carries up to 10 years in prison, and providing and attempting material support to a cross-border murder plot, carrying a maximum of 15 years per sentence.

Bolton, one of the leading “hawks” of the US foreign policy establishment and a harsh critic of Iran, was President Donald Trump’s White House national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019.

From 2005 to 2006 he was Ambassador to the United Nations in the administration of President George Bush.

The court documents showed that Bolton was aware of the conspiracy and cooperated with investigators, allowing photos of himself outside his Washington office to be sent to Poursafi.

Over the months that Poursafi discussed the plot with his US contact, he revealed that it was linked to Tehran’s desire for revenge for the US assassination of Soleimani.

Soleimani was the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and personally maintained her network of allies and proxies throughout the Gulf region.

Shortly after landing at Baghdad airport on January 7, 2020, he was the target of a US drone strike.

Since that attack, Tehran has vowed revenge, and US officials said the country tried to kill one or more US officials.

Another official on Tehran’s target list was Mike Pompeo, who was Secretary of State at the time of Soleimani’s assassination and was director of the Central Intelligence Agency before that.

At the time, Pompeo said Soleimani was planning large-scale attacks on US targets such as embassies.

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