Iran's Foreign Ministry refuted allegations levelled by the US Justice Department that a member of the IRGC orchestrated a plot to assassinate former US national security advisor John Bolton as "baseless".
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, who was highly critical of Iran.
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, DC or Maryland."
“The Justice Department has the solemn duty to defend our citizens from hostile governments who seek to hurt or kill them,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the department's national security division.
If convicted, the Iranian national, who remains at large overseas, 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."
In addition, he faces 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 and motives'
Iran's Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, however, refuted the allegations levelled 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, while referring to the assassination of Soleimani, who was killed on January 2, 2020, near the Baghdad International Airport on direct orders of the then-US president.
The spokesperson said the "weaving of baseless legends" and "scenario creations" was becoming a "repeated procedure" in the American judicial system.
He warned 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.
The standoff over the 2015 nuclear deal also continues despite eight rounds of talks in Vienna since April last year, with some sticking points preventing a breakthrough.