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US charges IRGC member for plotting to assassinate Trump's former national security advisor

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps member Shahram Poursafi tried to hire an assassin to target John Bolton, allegedly in retaliation for the killing of Iran’s top commander Qasem Soleimani

Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks during a lecture at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, February 17, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Drake)

The United States Department of Justice announced charges against an Iranian national on Wednesday for plotting to assassinate John Bolton, who served as national security advisor for former U.S. President Donald Trump. 

Shahram Poursafi, 45, is a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and is based in Tehran. According to court documents, Poursafi contacted a U.S.-based individual and offered an amount of $300,000 to arrange Bolton’s murder. That person was working undercover for the FBI. 

DOJ prosecutors said that Poursafi first asked the informant to provide surveillance photographs of Bolton. Later, the Iranian national asked if the informant could hire someone for “them” for $200,000, in order to “eliminate someone,” later identified to be Bolton. 

Bolton, considered the main strategist behind the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, pushed for the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 

The foiled operation against Bolton allegedly was in retaliation for the January 2020 killing of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq. Soleimani was overseeing the special unit known as the Quds Force, one of five branches of the IRGC, primarily responsible for extraterritorial intelligence and military operations. The Quds Force is also responsible for maintaining contact with Iranian-backed militias across the Middle East. 

One of the last remaining sticking points in nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran pertains to the State Department’s terror designation of the IRGC. 

Earlier this year, the State Department revealed the amounts paid to secure the safety of former Trump administration officials, however John Bolton’s security budget has remained undisclosed.

The department said it is paying $2 million every month to protect former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against threats from Iran. Brian Hook, former Trump administration envoy for Iran, is also under tight security at a cost of about $175,000 per month.

The American Jewish Congress said in a statement it applauded the U.S. Department of Justice for its decision to file criminal charges against Poursafi.

"It is both morally and diplomatically outrageous to hear of attempts by operatives tied to the IRGC, as they planned to carry out an assassination against a former high-ranking official of the United States Government," the organization said.

Read more: IRGC

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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