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THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE announced criminal charges against a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for orchestrating the assassination of senior Trump officials. The information comes amid major concerns that Iran is seizing territory in the region by increasing its military presence in what would be the “backyard” of the United States.
According to investigations, the IRGC was planning the assassination of John Bolton, who held senior National Security positions, and that of Mike Pompeo, who was Trump’s Secretary of State. The reason for the alleged plot is “likely retaliation” for the January 2020 U.S. airstrike in which Qasem Soleimani, IRGC commander, was killed.
Prosecutors accused Shahram Poursafi, a 45-year-old Iranian national and member of the IRGC, of attempting to pay $300,000 to an individual in the United States to kill Bolton. And they added that the suspect had a “second job” for $1 million that would allegedly be to assassinate Mike Pompeo. Poursafi has not been arrested and remains at large.
Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser from April 2018 until the former president fired him in September 2019 via Twitter, thanked the Justice Department, FBI and Secret Service for their efforts.
“While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable: Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States,” he asserted. “Their radical, anti-American objectives are unchanged; their commitments are worthless; and their global threat is growing,” he added.
I wish to thank the Justice Dept for initiating the criminal proceeding unsealed today; the FBI for its diligence in discovering and tracking the Iranian regime’s criminal threat to American citizens; and the Secret Service for providing protection against Tehran’s efforts. pic.twitter.com/QDjkX6gUWM
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) August 10, 2022
For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Nasser Kanani said Wednesday, “The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly warns against any action against Iranian citizens under the pretext of these ridiculous accusations. And emphasizes that it reserves the right to take any action within the framework of international law to defend the rights of the government and citizens,” state-run news outlet IRNA reported.
“By targeting Bolton, the regime is signaling that its recklessness knows no bounds,” columnist Bobby Ghosh notes in an analysis for Bloomberg that lays bare how Iran has grown by increasing its plots to commit international assassinations against its enemies.
But the plan to assassinate American officials raises serious alarms about what Iran’s intentions are and how it has managed to advance its influence not only in the region, but by infiltrating criminals into the country.
“Iran appears to be building capabilities on U.S. soil.”
Joseph Humire, a global security specialist with a focus on Iran, told El American that the case of the plot against Bolton and Pompeo shows that Iran “is growing and building capabilities” to achieve its purpose.
“The Bolton case showed that there are Iranian agents in the United States and that, although they do not yet have the capacity to commit assassinations of important officials in the country, they are building the capabilities to be able to do so,” the specialist explained.
“Iran has a long history of international terrorism and assassinations, but also the United States has a long history of neutralizing Iran inside U.S. soil. Iran has tried to kill ambassadors to the U.S., prosecutors … and it’s never gone well because U.S. intelligence has been able to neutralize it and I’m a little concerned that that’s weakening because Iran is growing, it’s infiltrating more and the crisis at the border may help make that worse,” Humire said.
“Previously we had better immigration control, but since 3 years ago, the crisis at the border has been exacerbated and today we do not know who are the people who are crossing the border. And three years is enough time to bring in entire units […] the Bolton case shows that there are people moving to build capacity,” he said.
On the other hand, Humire warned that just as Iran’s influence is growing in the region, so is Venezuela’s, and both countries, which are also allies, have a mission to carry on.
“What is clear is that Iran and Venezuela are raising a public campaign to persecute their enemies. If we listen to Maduro’s recent message when he was in the Middle East, he said that Iran and Venezuela are going to be the vanguard of that new world. What it means is that they are going to push for changes,” Humire explained, who added that it seems that the intention of both nations is to create border conflicts and perhaps initiate maritime conflicts.
It remains to be seen whether President Joe Biden would still be willing to sign a nuclear agreement with Iran, even though it is known that the Middle East is planning to assassinate Americans in their own territory.
Note: Kenani’s and Humire’s quotes were translated from Spanish to English.
Sabrina Martín Rondon is a Venezuelan journalist. Her source is politics and economics. She is a specialist in corporate communications and is committed to the task of dismantling the supposed benefits of socialism // Sabrina Martín Rondon es periodista venezolana. Su fuente es la política y economía. Es especialista en comunicaciones corporativas y se ha comprometido con la tarea de desmontar las supuestas bondades del socialismo