John Bolton says he is ‘embarrassed at low price’ of $300,000 offered to assassinate him

·2-min read

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has said he was “embarrassed” at the low price of $300,000 offered to assassinate him by an Iranian military operative in a tongue-in-cheek comment.

Mr Bolton was asked about his views by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room on Wednesday on the US Justice Department’s revelation of new details about the plot to assassinate him by announcing charges against an Iranian man.

“Well, I was embarrassed at the low price. I thought it would’ve been higher. But I guess maybe it was the exchange rate problem or something,” Mr Bolton joked.

“I read the document with great interest. I had not seen it before. I was not aware of many of the specifics in it, although obviously I had long had a general understanding of what the threat was.”

On Wednesday, Shahram Poursafi, 45, was accused of trying to pay $300,000 (£245,000) to an individual in the US to kill Mr Bolton, either in Washington DC or Maryland, the Justice Department said.

Officials said the assassination plot would have been in retaliation for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qasem Soleimani by the US military in an airstrike in Baghdad in January 2020.

In court documents, the DoJ said Mr Poursafi was working for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Armed Forces overseeing foreign operations, and allegedly paid US individuals to carry out the killing in Washington DC.

An Iranian government spokesperson has refuted the allegations, calling them “baseless”.

Mr Bolton has served as a UN ambassador and a senior State Department official when George Bush was president.

Serving 17 months in the Trump administration, Mr Bolton had left the White House in 2019 after a dispute with him over the question of whether sanctions on Iran should be removed as a way to negotiate.

An image released by the FBI shows Shahram Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi of Tehran, Iran, in a 2021 image released by the U.S. Justice Department (via REUTERS)
An image released by the FBI shows Shahram Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi of Tehran, Iran, in a 2021 image released by the U.S. Justice Department (via REUTERS)

He had advocated for a regime change in Iran and supported Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. He strongly supported the war in Iraq which began in 2003.

“I think it’s quite correct to say many other Americans are the targets of this regime. It tells you what the regime is. It tells you about its character,” Mr Bolton said.

“Frankly, from my point of view, the regime’s terrorist activities are just the other side of the coin of its nuclear weapons program, and any idea this regime will adhere to its commitments on anything is just a terrible delusion,” he added.

Mr Bolton had casually admitted on television last month that he had experience in planning coups.

“As someone who has helped plan coups d’état — not here but, you know, other places — it takes a lot of work,” Mr Bolton had told CNN’s Jake Tapper.