Iranian Operative Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Former Trump Administration Official John Bolton


The Department of Justice has charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in an alleged assassination plot against John Bolton, who was national security advisor under former President Donald Trump.

The DOJ accuses the Iranian operative, Sharam Poursafi, of trying to pay $300,000 to individuals to kill Bolton in Washington or Maryland, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The 45-year-old Poursafi “remains at large abroad,” the department said in a news release.

If he is found and convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine as high as $250,000 for using interstate commerce facilities to hire people to murder these prominent figures.

Poursafi could also face up to 15 years in prison and another fine of up to $250,000 for providing material support to a transnational murder plot, the Post reported.

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“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,” Larissa Knapp, executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, said in a statement.

“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,” she said.

“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,” Matthew Graves, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a statement.

“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.

Should the U.S. take action against Iran in response to this plot?

Federal officials said they suspect the targeting of Bolton — which began in October 2021 — was an act of retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a January 2020 airstrike in Baghdad.

Bolton has long advocated a tough stance against Iran and was reported to be one of the major influencers in Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy against the Islamic Republic, Axios reported.

It said he was also instrumental in Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under then-President Barack Obama in 2018.

Under President Joe Biden — who served as Obama’s vice president — the U.S. has engaged in indirect negotiations to revive the deal.

However, Brett McGurk, the White House Middle East coordinator, acknowledged last month that a resurrection of the agreement is “highly unlikely,” Axios reported.

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Meanwhile, Bolton has continued to speak out about the danger that Iran presents.

“While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable: Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States,” he said in a statement concerning the Poursafi indictment, according to the Post.

“Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing,” Bolton said.

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