The Justice Department charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in connection with a plot to murder former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, accusing him of attempting to pay individuals $300,000 to kill Bolton. The suspect, Shahram Poursafi, 45, remains at large abroad. Federal officials said the attempted assassination of Bolton would have been retaliation for the U.S. military killing in January, 2020 of Qasem Soleimani, a top commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is a branch of Iran’s military. Soleimani was killed in a drone strike in Baghdad, reports the Washington Post. Bolton served as national security adviser for 17 months under Trump, resigning in 2019 after reportedly disagreeing with the president over whether to lift some sanctions on Iran as a negotiating tool.
Bolton, who did not want the sanctions lifted, was an architect of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of escalating economic sanctions and threats of retaliation for Iran’s alleged support for terrorism. The idea was to cripple Iran’s economy to the point that its leaders feel they must bargain away any nuclear ambitions and missile technology. “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 said about the indictment. “Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing.” He came under fire in July for saying in an interview on CNN that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was not a coup — and that he would know because he had helped planned them.