Iranian Operative Indicted in Plot to Assassinate John Bolton

The United States charged an Iranian operative in an alleged plot to assassinate former Trump-era National Security Adviser John Bolton.


The United States charged an Iranian operative in an alleged plot to assassinate former Trump-era National Security Adviser John Bolton.

  • Shahram Poursafi, reportedly a member of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, allegedly offered $300,000 to “eliminate” Bolton.
  • The Justice Department alleged Poursafi “was likely motivated to kill Bolton in retaliation for the death of Qassem Soleimani.” Soleimani was the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps before he was killed in a January 2020 American drone strike.
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran denied the charges, dismissing them as a piece of America’s “failed policy of Iranophobia.”
  • An anonymous U.S. official told Reuters the assassination attempt should not affect the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal after then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times wrote the charging document “read like the synopsis of an international espionage novel.” The Times reported the plot “was ultimately foiled by a confidential federal informant who posed as a would-be assassin.”
  • The Washington Post pointed out that Poursafi remains at large and is presumed to be in Iran. The Post reported Bolton has been under Secret Service protection since December and received warnings from the FBI about an Iranian threat as early as last fall.
  • POLITICO reported that Poursafi aimed to assassinate Bolton by the anniversary of Soleimani’s death in January and grew increasingly frustrated at his inability to carry out the plot.



  • The Wall Street Journal reported former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “was also notified he was an intended target” of Iranian operatives. The indictment alludes to a follow-up “job” against a high-ranking Trump administration official, likely Pompeo.
  • FOX News picked up Bolton’s statement after the DOJ announced the indictment. The former National Security Adviser said, “While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable: Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States.”
  • National Review covered one particularly disturbing revelation from the indictment: the Iranian government “knew specific details about his whereabouts” and was able to surveil Bolton even while he was under U.S. government protection.

Author’s Take

In a normal world, a plot to murder former U.S. officials on American soil would be the end of any U.S. negotiations with a country that sponsored attempted assassinations of Americans. However, the Biden administration is signaling they will continue negotiations for a new Iran Deal as if nothing happened. This begs the question: if attempting to murder U.S. officials won’t derail the Biden administration’s monomaniacal drive to resurrect the Iran deal, can anything?

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© Dominic Moore, 2022