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Bolton on Iranian assassination plot: ‘This is a real window’ into Tehran government

Former Trump administration national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that the alleged Iranian operative plot to kill him — unveiled in charges announced by the Justice Department this week — provides “a real window into what that government in Tehran is like.”

“It is not just a window into how they behave with their terrorist activities and sponsorship of terrorist groups, but how they conduct their foreign policy altogether,” Bolton said on CNN. “This is not a regime that can be trusted to meet its commitments or obligations. It is a regime that sees the United States as an enemy and acts that way.”

The DOJ announced on Wednesday charges against an alleged Iranian operative accused of plotting to assassinate Bolton, likely in retaliation for the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani by the United States in January 2020. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also allegedly targeted by the Iranians, POLITICO confirmed on Wednesday.

Bolton only learned of the threat upon DOJ’s release of the criminal complaint on Wednesday. He released a statement shortly after, thanking the DOJ, the FBI and the Secret Service for their “diligence” and “protection.”

Bolton said Thursday that having gone through the charging document, he’s aware of the “nature of the threat” and “just how detailed the work was to send me off to the great beyond.” He also noted the extent to which the Iranian government was engaged in the planning.

Shahram Poursafi — a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — allegedly conspired between October 2021 and April of this year to kill Bolton and has been charged with the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire and providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot. Poursafi worked on behalf of the IRGC in his attempts to pay people in the U.S. to murder Bolton, the Justice Department said.

The former national security adviser said Thursday that while he doesn’t know the specifics of others who may have been targeted by Iran, “it is very clear that it is not just former government officials that Iran is after.” An Iranian-American journalist in late July was the subject of a near attack outside her Brooklyn home after being the target of an international kidnapping plot last year said to be orchestrated by an Iranian intelligence network, The New York Times reported.

“This is a case of Iran not simply carrying out terrorist attacks against American service members or diplomats in Iraq, of which they have done an awful lot over the years, but trying to kill Americans on American soil,” Bolton said.

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