Former national security adviser John Bolton on Wednesday said that the price a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) allegedly attempted to pay people to kill Bolton was lower than he expected.
“The suspect put a $300,000 price tag on your head,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “Situation Room.” “What goes through your mind, ambassador, hearing the details of this plot, as explained today in great detail by the US Justice Department?”
“Well, I was embarrassed at the low price,” Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, responded. “I would have thought it would have been higher. But I guess maybe it was the exchange rate problem or something.”
The Department of Justice announced the plot publicly earlier on Wednesday, saying Shahram Poursafi started planning to murder Bolton in October in likely retaliation for his involvement in a drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, who led the IRGC’s elite Quds Force.
Poursafi also reportedly planned to target former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who served in the role at the time of the drone strike against Soleimani. Bolton said on CNN he had not spoken to Pompeo about the unsealed charging document and was only aware of the press reports about his alleged targeting of him.
Bolton added that the FBI warned him of foreign threats to his security, which “grew more severe” as time went on, noting that his Secret Service detail ended following his time in the White House but was recently reinstated.
“Eventually, by the late fall of 2021, I asked, ‘If it’s this serious, perhaps the Secret Service should be involved,’” Bolton said. “And ultimately President Biden made that decision. And I appreciate it, obviously.”
Bolton also slammed the Biden administration for negotiating with Iran on a new nuclear deal in the wake of the plot, saying attempts to “appease” Tehran encourage threats against US officials.
Talks led by the European Union in Vienna to negotiate the text of a potentially revived nuclear deal ended on Monday, and the EU’s foreign affairs chief said the capitals must now discuss the final text and there was no more room for negotiation.
“I think the deal was a mistake in 2015” when it was first created, Bolton said.
“It hasn’t gotten any better with age,” he continued. “The administration has been on its knees in Vienna begging to get back into the deal, which sends signals of weakness, not just to Tehran, but around the world.”