An Iranian national and member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was charged by federal law enforcement officials on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to assassinate former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Shahram Poursafi, aka Mehdi Rezayi, 45, of Tehran, Iran, allegedly attempted to arrange for Bolton’s assassination in response to the Trump administration killing notorious terrorist Qasem Soleimani who was the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
Poursafi attempted to pay individuals $300,000 to carry out the assassination in or around the nation’s capital, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Poursafi told a confidential human source that if they carried out the mission successfully, he would pay them $1 million for a second target. Poursafi said that surveillance conducted from methods on the ground in the U.S. had already been carried out on the second target.
Poursafi was officially 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. If convicted, Poursafi faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000 for the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, and 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.
Top U.S. law enforcement officials responded to the charges in statement:
- Matthew G. Olsen, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division: “The Justice Department has the solemn duty to defend our citizens from hostile governments who seek to hurt or kill them. This is not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on U.S. soil and we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt every one of these efforts.”
- Larissa L. Knapp, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch: “Iran has a history of plotting to assassinate individuals in the U.S. it deems a threat, but the U.S. Government has a longer history of holding accountable those who threaten the safety of our citizens. Let there be no doubt: The FBI, the U.S. government, and our partners remain vigilant in the fight against such threats here in the U.S. and overseas.”
- Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia: “Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, through the Defendant, tried to hatch 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.”
- Steven M. D’Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office: “An attempted assassination of a former U.S. Government official on U.S. soil is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The FBI will continue to identify and disrupt any efforts by Iran or any hostile government seeking to bring harm or death to U.S. persons at home or abroad. This should serve as a warning to any others attempting to do the same – the FBI will be relentless in our efforts to identify, stop, and bring to justice those who would threaten our people and violate our laws.”