Iranian Revolutionary Guards accused of attempting to assassinate John Bolton |  DW |  10.08.2022

Iranian Revolutionary Guards accused of attempting to assassinate John Bolton | DW | 10.08.2022

Indictments filed by the United States against an Iranian Revolutionary Guards individual indicated that former US National Security Adviser John Bolton was the target of an Iranian assassination plot, Bloomberg News reported.

The alleged plot of Shahram Borsafi aimed to avenge the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Justice today, Wednesday (August 10, 2022).

The US Department of Justice said Shahram Borsafi, also known as Mehdi Rezaei, a 45-year-old from Tehran, was likely motivated to kill Bolton in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a US drone strike in January. 2020.

In its first official reaction, Iran rejected the US accusations, saying they were “baseless and politically motivated”. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said, according to Iranian media, “Iran strongly warns against any move against Iranian citizens under the pretext of these baseless and absurd accusations.”

Iran has no extradition treaty with the United States, and Borsafi remains at large. Today, Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a poster of him as one of the most wanted men.

According to the criminal complaint, Borsafi asked a US resident to take pictures of Bolton on the pretext that they were necessary for a forthcoming book. The US resident then presented Borsafi to a secret government informant who could take the photos for a sum of money.

Investigators said that the following month, Borsafi contacted the informant on an encrypted messaging application and offered him $250,000 to hire someone to “eliminate” Bolton, and the negotiation amounted to $300,000.

When the informant asked Borsafi to be more specific in his request, he said he wanted to liquidate the “man,” and provided Bolton’s first and last name, according to an sworn statement submitted in support of the complaint. The informant was later asked to open a cryptocurrency account to facilitate payment. In subsequent contacts, he is believed to have told the informant that the method of carrying out the killing was unimportant, but that his “group” would need a video as proof that the mission had been carried out.

Bolton posted a statement on Twitter today thanking the Department of Justice for its actions. “While we cannot say much publicly now, one thing is indisputable… Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists and enemies of the United States,” he said.

Meanwhile, a US official said today that the United States does not believe that the accusations against Borsafi should affect nuclear diplomacy with Iran. “From our point of view, that should not happen,” the official, who asked not to be named, added, noting that the Justice Department had brought charges against Borsafi outside of US diplomacy with Iran.

Washington is seeking to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program in return for the easing of US, European and United Nations sanctions. Indirect talks between the United States and Iran concluded in Vienna on Monday, with EU officials saying they had submitted a final text to revive the deal.

Trump withdrew his country from the nuclear deal in 2018 and re-imposed harsh US sanctions, prompting Tehran to start violating the restrictions stipulated in the agreement nearly a year later. This revived fears that Iran might seek to develop nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies.

FY/A.H (DPA, Reuters, AFP)

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