WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with plotting the assassination of John R. Bolton, who served as national security adviser to President Donald J. Trump.
Prosecutors said the Iranian had offered $300,000 to hire someone to kill Mr. Bolton, a conservative foreign policy expert and hard-liner on Iran, in Washington or Maryland.
Officials from the department’s national security branch said Bolton’s planned assassination was likely in retaliation for the US military’s January 2020 killing of Qassim Suleimani, a top commander of the Revolutionary Guards, a power-base branch of Iran’s military. for the country’s ruling military and political elites.
Shahram Poursafi, 45, is not in custody and residing abroad, department officials said. If arrested and convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison for using interstate trading facilities in the plot and another 15 years for trying to provide material support for a transnational assassination plot.
Matthew G. Olsen, an assistant attorney general for national security at the Department of Justice, said the case was “not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to retaliate against individuals on American soil, and we will tirelessly working to make up for all these efforts.”
Bolton — who vehemently opposed the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Tehran — repeatedly clashed with Mr Trump during a tempestuous 17-month tenure as national security adviser. He later wrote a comprehensive book on the former president’s impulsive and often haphazard requests on foreign policy.
“While not much can be said publicly at this point, one point is indisputable: Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists and enemies of the United States,” Bolton said in a statement from his office on the indictment. “Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their obligations are worthless; and their global threat is growing.”