WASHINGTON—The Biden administration on Wednesday indicted members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard for plotting to kill former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton.
The Justice Department announced that Shahram Pursafi, 45, also known as Mehdi Rezai from Tehran, was killed in a U.S. drone in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). ) was likely motivated to kill Bolton. The IRGC has been designated a terrorist group by the US government.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Iran does not have an extradition treaty with the United States and Pursafi is on the run. The FBI released a Most Wanted poster on Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint, Pursafi asked a U.S. resident, identified only as “Individual A,” to photograph Bolton, under the pretense that the photographs were needed for an upcoming book. The U.S. resident then referred her Poursafi to a secret government informant who could be photographed for a fee.
Investigators said Pulsafi contacted an informant the following month via an encrypted messaging application and offered the person $250,000 to hire someone to “get rid of” Bolton.
According to an affidavit supporting the accusations, when an informant asked Poursafi to be more specific with his demands, he said he wanted to purge “that man” and provided Bolton’s first and last name.
He later instructed informants to open cryptocurrency accounts to facilitate payments. In a subsequent correspondence, he told his informant that it didn’t matter how the killing took place, but that his “group” would need the video as proof that the deed had taken place. .
In a statement on Twitter Wednesday, Bolton thanked the Justice Department for taking action.
“I can’t say much at this point, but one point is indisputable,” he said. “Iranian rulers are liars, terrorists and enemies of the United States.”
The State Department did not immediately comment on whether the decision to indict Pursafi was somehow related to US diplomacy seeking to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Indirect talks between the US and Iran ended in Vienna on Monday, and European Union officials announced a final deal to revive the deal that curbed Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for bailouts from the US, EU, and UN economies. Sanctions that said they submitted documents.
Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and reinstated tough US sanctions on Iran.