US accuses Iranian operative of plotting to kill John Bolton | Crime News

The Justice Department says the IRGC member offered $300,000 to assassinate Donald Trump’s former national security adviser.

United States authorities have accused an alleged member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of plotting to assassinate former National Advisor John Bolton, likely in retaliation for the killing Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

The US Department of Justice revealed the charges against Shahram Poursafi, of Tehran, on Wednesday, accusing him of offering an unidentified US-based individual $300,000 to carry out the killing in Washington, DC or neighboring Maryland.

Bolton, a foreign policy hawk and vocal advocate of regime change in Iran, served as national security adviser under former President Donald Trump, but he left the job before the US drone attack killed Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020.

“Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, through the Defendant, tried to hatch a brazen plot: assassinate a former US official on US soil in retaliation for US actions,” Matthew Graves, US attorney for Washington, said in a statement.

“Iran and other hostile governments should understand that the US 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.”

According to the Justice Department, the Iranian operative “had an additional ‘job,’ for which he would pay $1 million”. It did not provide details on what the job was or whom it may have targeted.

The Justice Department said Poursafi “remains at large abroad”, so he is unlikely to stand trial for the two charges he is facing, including “providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot”, which carries up to 15 years in jail.

Wednesday’s cartoons come as Washington and Tehran push to revive the 2015 nuclear deal that saw Iran scale back its nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions against its economy.

Trump nixed the agreement in 2018 and started piling sanctions on various Iranian industries and individuals. In response, Tehran has been advancing its nuclear program well beyond the limits set by the 2015 pact.

Indirect talks between Tehran and the administration of US President Joe Biden summarized briefly in Vienna last week, with the European Union offering a “final text” to reinstate the deal.

On Wednesday, Bolton thanked law enforcement agencies for foiling the alleged plot and hit out at the current US administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear pact.

“Iran’s nuclear weapons and terrorist activities are two sides of the same coin. No responsible US government should think otherwise,” Bolton said in a statement.

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

Bolton had returned to news headlines last month when he boasted during a TV interview that he has “helped planned coups d’etat” abroad.

Biden and his top aids have defended the nuclear deal against concerns that it does not address Tehran’s ballistic missile program or regional activities by arguing that a nuclear-armed Iran would be much more dangerous.

Iran denies pursuing nuclear weapons and accuses the US of militarizing the Middle East by selling and providing billions of dollars worth of weapons to Israel and Gulf Arab states.

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