Iranian Operative Charged With Targeting Against US Officials

The Justice Department announced on Wednesday the filing of criminal charges against 45-year-old Shahram Poursafi, an Iranian National and Revolutionary Guard member. His targets were John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves detailed the conspiracy in a press conference. He noted the Islamic Republic “tried to hatch a brazen plot: assassinate a former U.S. official on U.S. soil” as revenge for American actions.

Bolton, who served in top security positions in both the George W. Bush and Trump administrations, was the first target of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Prosecutors believe the alleged plot was in retaliation for the Jan. 2020 air strikes that killed Qasem Soleimani, the Revolutionary Guard commander. Leaders of the organization, which is known internationally for sponsoring terror, vowed to exact revenge on American targets.

Poursafi, according to the Justice Department, tried to pay $300,000 for Bolton’s death and asserted he had a second target available for $1 million.

That “second target” is believed to be former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He served in that position for former President Trump at the time of the air strikes that killed Soleimani.

Pompeo is also well known for being a critic of the Islamic Republic’s pattern of international terror and violence. Along with Bolton, the pair stood in solid agreement for hawkish policies towards Iran.

The U.S.-based individual who was offered the two jobs was working at the time as an FBI informant. Poursafi urged the informant to take photos of Bolton for a book he was working on, but then asked if the source could find a person to “eliminate” someone.

That someone turned out to be Bolton.

The government said the suspect told the informant that targeting the former official would not be easy because of surrounding people, but that “his time would come.”

Poursafi is at large and has been charged with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire. He also faces charges of attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot.

If convicted, the combined charges carry a maximum possibility of 25 years in prison.

Iran, which has taken large steps towards a closer relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, deserves to be an international pariah along with their new friend. And blocking the rogue state’s nuclear ambitions should be of highest priority.