Newly unsealed court documents in D.C. federal court allege that a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps plotted to assassinate former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton in a $300,000 murder-for-hire scheme.
Tehran native Shahram Poursafi, 45, who also went by Mehdi Rezayi, attempted to arrange the murder in late 2021 in retaliation for the Jan. 2020 killing of Qasem Soleimani, an influential Iranian military general, the Department of Justice said in a statement Wednesday.
"While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable," Bolton said in a statement Wednesday after the complaint was unsealed. "Iran's rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States. Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing."
Poursafi attempted to pay individuals in D.C. or Maryland up to $300,000 to carry out the murder, according to the complaint. He is charged with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, and with providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot.
The FBI is appealing for help in locating Poursafi.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew M. Graves, said it was "a brazen plot: assassinate a former U.S. official on U.S. soil in retaliation for U.S. actions."
"Iran and other hostile governments should understand that the U.S. Attorney's Office and our law enforcement partners will do everything in our power to thwart their violent plots and bring those responsible to justice," he said.
Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad International Airport that killed a total of seven people, including Deputy Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who led Iran-backed militias operating in Iraq. Although he left office months before, Bolton celebrated the deaths in a tweet, congratulating the Trump administration's effort in eliminating the Iranian officials.
"Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran's malign Quds Force activities worldwide," the tweet said. "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran."
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