The FBI has uncovered a plot by a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to assassinate former White House national security adviser John Bolton. Mike Pompeo, the former Secretary of State in the Trump administration, was also a target.
The US Department of Justice said in a statement that 45-year-old Shahram Poursafi, alias Mehdi Rezayi, has been charged in absentia for offering people in the US $300,000 to kill John Bolton, who was also US ambassador to the UN.
He also had a “second job” for one million dollars. According to a source close to the investigation, that second job referred to an assassination plot against Mike Pompeo. He held that post when Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US attack in 2020. The Justice Department reportedly informed Pompeo on Wednesday that he was the second target of the assassination plot.
Poursafi, according to the Americans, wanted to avenge the death of the Iranian general. The Iranian originally contacted a person living in the US – who secretly worked as an FBI informant – and asked him to take pictures of Bolton “for a book Poursafi was writing,” according to court documents.
He later asked the informant if he could hire a person to “take someone out” and promised protection for the “informant” and the would-be assassin, prosecutors said. Poursafi also allegedly suggested that the assassination be done “by car,” gave the address of Bolton’s office, and noted that the former national security adviser had a habit of often walking alone.
In November 2021, the informant traveled to Washington, DC, and sent Poursafi photos of Bolton’s office and descriptions of the building. Poursafi reportedly dictated that the murder should take place in the building’s garage because it was an area of heavy traffic.
Poursafi has since been charged and risks a long prison sentence. But the man is still a fugitive, and the US has no extradition treaty with Iran.
In a statement on Twitter, Bolton thanked the Justice Department for taking such swift action. “While not much can be said publicly at this time, one point is indisputable,” he wrote. “The rulers of Iran are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States.”
Speaking to CNN Wednesday night, Bolton joked that he was “embarrassed by the low price” reportedly offered to kill him.
Bolton said he did not know that Pompeo was also a target, but that it did not surprise him. “I think there is a significant number of people vulnerable to these Iranian plots. And unfortunately, I’m afraid it doesn’t stop here,” he said.
Several current and former US officials continue to receive significant personal security because of the Iranian threat, according to a source who is well aware of all those receiving protection.