Politics

Bolton accuses Biden administration of staying quiet on assassination plot to please Iran



Ex-White House national security adviser John Bolton accused the Biden administration on Wednesday of holding back criticism of Iran’s government for the targeting of both himself and other Americans on US soil for fear of tanking nuclear negotiations with Tehran.

Mr Bolton made the comments on Wednesday after an appearance on a panel hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a top coalition of Iranian resistance groups. The organisation is a top domestic political enemy of the government in Tehran; US conservatives and some Democrats frequently attend the group’s events in DC.

“I’d like to hear the administration say with a straight face that they were afraid if they unsealed the document earlier it would tank the negotiations [for] going back into the nuclear deal [with Iran],” he told a group of reporters at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC.

“Any government of the United States has a tradeoff from time to time between law enforcement activities and international political activities; those have to be reconciled. But there’s no doubt here that this ongoing terrorist threat to Americans on American soil … was affected by the nuclear negotiations,” Mr Bolton went on.

Speaking as “an alumnus of the Department of Justice as well as the State Department and the [National Security Council]”, the former Bush and Trump administration appointee continued that he believed the DoJ finally broke its silence on the issue, to the chagrin of the State Department and other agencies, because it needed to dissuade the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from carrying out similar efforts in the future.

The Justice Department announce criminal charges against one member of the IRGC over an alleged plot to assassinate Mr Bolton last Wednesday; the 45-year-old suspect is an Iranian national, Shahram Poursafi, who remains at large.

“The Justice Department has the solemn duty to defend our citizens from hostile governments who seek to hurt or kill them,” said Matthew Olsen, an assistant AG with the agency’s National Security Division. “This is not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on U.S. soil and we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt every one of these efforts.”

The Biden administration has largely withheld comment from any of its political arms — such as the State Department or the White House — about the alleged plot to kill Mr Bolton. It has, however, condemned the assertion from Mr Bolton and other conservatives that comment was being withheld for political reason. The statement did not explain why President Joe Biden or Secretary of State Antony Blinken have not commented on the issue.

“The assertion that [DOJ] held a public indictment out of concerns it would impact the JCPOA negotiations is categorically false,” a White House spokesperson told the New York Post. “As the Department of Justice said in March, ‘In every case, the Department’s decision whether to charge would be made based on the facts and law and in accordance with the principles of federal prosecution.’”



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