The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, that a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had been charged with complicity in a malicious plan against John Bolton’s life. Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, turned to social media to applaud the Justice Department for acting quickly against Shahram Poursafi. According to an affidavit provided in support of a criminal complaint filed against Shahram Poursafi, a.k.a. ‘Mehdi Rezay,’ he broke multiple federal criminal laws:
“This affidavit is being submitted in support of a criminal complaint alleging that SHAHRAM POURSAFI, a/k/a “Mehdi Rezayi” (hereinafter referred to as “POURSAFI”) violated the following federal criminal laws: (l) I8 U.S.C. 195 8(a) (Use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire), and (2) 18 U.S.C.
The indictment linked Poursafi’s conspiracy against John Bolton to the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force, in January 2020. The previous leader was killed in a US airstrike. According to the criminal complaint, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi openly threatened Trump and other top officials with retaliation if they refused to stand trial.
“On or around January 3, 2022, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivered a public speech in which he claimed that former President Trump and other former high-ranking officials in the Trump Administration should stand prosecution for the air attack against Qassem Soleimani. Raisi threatened that if those guilty were not brought to justice, the “fist of vengeance would reach from the sleeve of the Islamic ummah.”
Poursafi is still at large across national lines, and the FBI is looking for him.
Who exactly is Shahram Poursafi? A citizen from Iran is sought for conspiring against John Bolton.
The assassination of Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. bombing in January 2020 prompted multiple promises of vengeance from both the Iranian President and the current commander of the IRGC-QF. According to the criminal complaint filed against Shahram Poursafi, Esmail Ghani, the commander of the IRGC-QF, publicly said that:
“We will set the basis for strong retaliation against the United States from inside their houses since we do not need to be present as supervisors everywhere; wherever required, we retaliate against Americans with the support of those on their side and within their own homes without our presence.”
Poursafi, a 45-year-old Iranian with no history of visiting the United States, is accused of trying to pay $300,000 to someone in the United States for the assassination of John Bolton. The affidavit contains further details on the ruse:
“Beginning at least in or around October 2021 and continuing until at least in or around April 2022, POURSAFI used and caused others to use interstate commerce facilities and caused others to travel in interstate commerce in order to plan and carry out the murder of former National Security Advisor John Bolton.”
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) August 10, 2022
The FBI recognized Poursafi as an IRGC member based on images and found that the organization entrusted him with hiring persons located in the United States to assassinate John Bolton.