Newly leaked information Thursday revealed that a Syria-based commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds extraterritorial force was behind a failed operation to assassinate two former United States officials.
Documents from the hacktivist group, Backdoor (3ackd0or) provided to Iran International showed Quds Force Unit 840 Commander Mohammad Reza Ansari was in charge of the operation to assassinate former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security advisor John Bolton. The operation was in retaliation for the U.S. targeted killing of top IRGC commander General Qasem Soleimani.
Soleimani was killed in Iraq along with several others in January 2020 by a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump, creating a significant blow to the Islamic regime, which was heavily dependent on Soleimani to lead terrorist proxies across the region.
Many Islamic Republic officials ranging from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and IRGC military commanders have vowed revenge for Soleimani, echoing threats against American officials.
According to the leaked documents, an IRGC envoy went to Washington in January to conduct the plan but was unaware that an individual hired to kill Bolton in exchange for $300,000 was an FBI informant.
The mastermind, who had recruited agents in the U.S., was Shahram Poursafi, who was charged by the Department of Justice in August with plotting to assassinate Bolton. Poursafi is a 46-year-old Quds Force officer operating under the alias “Mehdi Rezaei.”
The U.S. Justice Department statement cited court documents suggesting that Poursafi launched the plan to kill Bolton either in Washington D.C. or Maryland in October 2021, asking an unnamed individual he met online to take photographs of Bolton for a book Porusafi was writing. The individual introduced Poursafi to a second person to whom he offered $250,000 and later increased to $300,00, to kill the ex-presidential advisor.
Poursafi then told the hired “killer” that it did not matter how the murder was conducted but that he would need video confirmation of Bolton’s death. He had emphasized that it is better to assassinate Bolton before the second anniversary of Qassem Soleimani’s death, promising the person to pay $1 million for his next target, who was supposed to be Pompeo.
Poursafi is currently in Iran and participates in clubhouse chat rooms with his photo under the name of “Mehdi Rezaei,” defending the policies of the IRGC and the Islamic Republic. Poursafi, along with Iranian intelligence commander Mohammad Hossein Shahmoradi and Abolfazl Alizade, is a member of Unit 840 of the Quds Force under the command of Mohammad Reza Ansari and is stationed in Syria.
According to reports, Unit 840 is a very secretive group within the Quds Force and there are normally no photos of its members available. The unit’s mission is to conduct operations against Western targets and Iranian opposition groups and individuals.
Currently, the Islamic Republic of Iran is facing massive protests by ordinary Iranian citizens over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the regime’s morality police over her hijab wear.
In response to the protests, the government has deployed security forces and the full force of the IRGC to quash street demonstrations. Current and former members of the IRGC have blamed outside governments like the U.S. and Israel for supporting the protests to overthrow the Islamic government.