Bolton reacts to alleged assassination plot
Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Thursday that he was “embarrassed” by a low price tag that had allegedly been put on his head, as part of a would-be plot to assassinate him, planned by an Iranian national.
On Wednesday, The US Justice Department announced criminal charges against Shahram Poursafi, a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), for allegedly orchestrating an assassination attempt against Bolton, a long-time anti-Iran hawk.
According to the DOJ, Poursafi wanted to take out Bolton presumably in order to avenge the death of Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian general and leader of IRGC-Quds Force, killed by a drone strike on the orders of US President Donald Trump in early 2020. The department said that Poursafi attempted to pay someone $300,000 to murder Bolton on US soil.
When asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer what he thought about the DOJ announcement, Bolton, who also served as US ambassador to the United Nations, responded that he “was embarrassed at the low price.”
“I would have thought it would have been higher,” he admitted. “But I guess maybe it was the exchange rate problem or something.”
Bolton also contended that he had not discussed the matter with Mike Pompeo, former US Secretary of State and CIA Director, another Iran hawk and a possible target of the would-be assassin. Earlier, the US Justice Department said that the suspect also offered $1 million to kill a second individual, without specifying his or her name.
At the same time, he noted that he would not be surprised if Iran attempted to take out Pompeo, adding that “there is a substantial amount of people vulnerable to these Iranian efforts,” including not only US officials, but also private American citizens. Bolton, however, declined to elaborate which US nationals he was referring to.
The former US National Security Advisor also said that the FBI warned him of foreign threats to his personal security as they “grew more severe,” adding that the US Secret Service is now guarding him again although he does not currently hold any public office.
Bolton has repeatedly spoken against the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran that aimed to rein in its nuclear program, going as far as to suggest that the US should “bomb Iran” so that it would not get nuclear weapons. Moreover, Bolton was a part of the Trump administration when the then-president announced in 2018 that the US would pull out of the landmark nuclear agreement.
In mid-July, the former US National security adviser also admitted that he’d played a role in ousting foreign leaders from power, lamenting that regime change takes “a lot of work.” Although he refused to go into the details, he did mention Venezuela, where US-backed opposition figures unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro in 2019.