A member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been charged by the United States Department of Justice with plotting to assassinate former national security adviser John Bolton in apparent retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
The Justice Department said that Shahram Poursafi, 45, tried to pay $300,000 to an individual in the United States to "eliminate" Bolton while he was in Maryland or Washington, D.C. Poursafi also told the individual he had another job for $1 million.
Poursafi spent several months communicating with the would-be assassin about the plan to assassinate Bolton. He refused to send payments until he received confirmation of Bolton's death. Eventually, he sent two cryptocurrency payments totaling $100 as proof the money would be sent when Bolton was killed.
"An attempted assassination of a former U.S. Government official on U.S. soil is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D'Antuono of the FBI Washington Field Office. "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."
Poursafi was charged with using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire and providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot. If convicted on both charges, he faces up to 25 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
Poursafi has not been arrested and remains at large abroad.
"While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable: Iran's rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States," Bolton said in a statement. "Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing."