Iranian Revolutionary Guard member charged in plot to kill John Bolton — out $300K in cryptocurrency

The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against an Iranian member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in connection to an alleged plot to assassinate former Trump administration National Security Adviser John Bolton.

(Video Credit: MSNBC)

The Iranian, Shahram Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi, 45, allegedly offered an assassin $300,000 in cryptocurrency to off Bolton. He was indicted on a charge of using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire and a charge of providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot, according to the criminal complaint.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a U.S.-designated terrorist group. They have also threatened to assassinate former President Trump in connection to the January 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, who was the commander of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force.

Poursafi is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list and is reportedly still at large.

He allegedly asked an individual in the United States, identified in court documents as “Individual A,” to take snapshots of Bolton. The excuse that was given cryptically was that “the photographs were for a book Poursafi was writing.” According to the DOJ, the individual “introduced Poursafi to an associate” who would take the pictures for $5,000-$10,000.

After getting in touch with the associate, Poursafi reportedly offered him $300,000 in cryptocurrency to “eliminate” Bolton in Washington, D.C., or Maryland. He told the hitman that the assassination would need to be finalized before he got paid. Poursafi then reportedly threatened the assassin, telling him, “if he/she was paid and the murder was not completed, Poursafi’s ‘group’ would be angry.”

“A later search of one of Poursafi’s online accounts revealed pictures of Poursafi wearing a uniform with an IRGC patch,” the DOJ noted. Communications indicate that Poursafi is tied to the Quds Force which he has never denied.

The DOJ contends that “Poursafi took screenshots of a map application showing a street view of” Bolton’s office in D.C., citing “results from the search of one of Poursafi’s online accounts.”

Poursafi told the assassin it didn’t “matter how the murder was carried out, but his ‘group’ would require video confirmation of the target’s death.” He hired the individual for a second job in exchange for $1 million. The hitman was told to ‘keep [Bolton] in the back of your mind.”

“The Justice Department has the solemn duty to defend our citizens from hostile governments who seek to hurt or kill them,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said in a statement. “This is not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on U.S. soil and we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt every one of these efforts.”

(Video Credit: The Justice Department)

“While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable: Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States,” Bolton declared in a statement following the DOJ announcement.

Bolton thanked the DOJ, the FBI, and the Secret Service via Twitter.

“I wish to thank the Justice Dept for initiating the criminal proceeding unsealed today; the FBI for its diligence in discovering and tracking the Iranian regime’s criminal threat to American citizens; and the Secret Service for providing protection against Tehran’s efforts,” he tweeted.

If he’s convicted, Poursafi faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, as well as a maximum of 15 years behind bars and a fine of $250,000 for providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot.

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