TEHRAN (AA) – Iran has dismissed as “baseless” and “politically motivated” charges pressed against an Iranian citizen by the US government for the alleged assassination plot against former US National Security Advisor John Bolton.
In a statement on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani called it the “continuation of the failed Iranophobic policy” and “new scenario creation” by the American judicial authorities.
He said there was “no evidence” to prove that Shahram Poursafi orchestrated a plot to assassinate the former US national security advisor.
On Wednesday, the US Justice Department announced that a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) faces criminal charges for allegedly trying to assassinate Bolton, “likely in retaliation” for the killing of Iran’s top military commander Qasem Soleimani in a US airstrike in Iraq.
A statement by the Justice Department said the Iranian national was “charged by complaint,” unsealed on Wednesday in the District of Columbia.
The statement, citing court documents, said Poursafi, a resident of Tehran, “attempted to arrange the murder” of Bolton, beginning in October 2021, and attempted to “pay individuals in the US $300,000 to carry out the murder in Washington D.C. or Maryland.”
If convicted, the Iranian national will face a 10-year jail term and a fine of up to $250,000 for “the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire”, and up to 15-year imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000 “for providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot.”
‘Political goals, motives’
Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, however, rejected the allegations leveled by the US Justice Department as “baseless” with “political goals and motives”.
Kanaani said the US is resorting to “propaganda” to “escape responsibility for numerous terrorist crimes” it has committed, referring to the assassination of Soleimani, who was killed on Jan. 2, 2020, near the Baghdad International Airport.
The spokesman said the “weaving of baseless legends” and “scenario creations” was becoming a “repeated procedure” in the American judicial system, warning that “any action” against Iranian citizens “on baseless allegations” will prompt Iran to take “any action within the framework of international law to defend the rights of the government and citizens.”
Tensions between Iran and the US have heightened since President Joe Biden’s high-profile West Asia tour last month when he signed two anti-Iran declarations in Jerusalem and Jeddah.
The standoff over the 2015 nuclear deal also continues despite eight rounds of talks in Vienna since April last year.
One of the sticking points remains the delisting of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard from the terrorist blacklist maintained by the US.
In the last round of talks last week, the European Union as a mediator put a “final text” on the table, which is likely to determine the fate of the deal and the course of relations between the two adversaries.