A top Iranian military leader claims that U.S. officials have been "begging us" to sign a nuclear deal during closed door negotiations with Tehran over its contested nuclear program, according to recent comments made to the Iranian state-controlled media.
Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the commander of the Basij, a paramilitary group operating under the wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), recently claimed that the "Americans are begging us for a deal on the negotiation table," according to comments published in Persian and independently translated for the Washington Free Beacon.
Naghdi added that American officials routinely "plea" with Iran in talks and that the United States is negotiating from a position of weakness, according to his comments, which follow earlier reports claiming that Iran’s leading negotiator "frequently shouts" at U.S. officials.
The military leader’s remarks appear to jibe with new reports that the United States is conceding ground to Iran in talks and will now allow it to "keep much of its uranium-enriching technology," according to the Associated Press.
Iran, the AP reported, "refuses to meet U.S.-led demands for deep cuts in the number of centrifuges it uses to enrich uranium, a process that can create material for anything from chemotherapy to the core of an atomic bomb."
Regional experts say that the Iranians feel that they are in a position of power in the talks and believe that the Obama administration is desperate to ink a deal.
"Iran feels the administration needs the deal, and this belief is supported by the way the administration is acting," said Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iranian dissident and associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
America’s "hostility toward its traditional allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia, is at its historical peak and the Obama administration either supports Iran to expand its influence in the region or at least does not oppose it at all," Ghasseminejad explained. "Iran feels as long as the negotiation is going on, it has a green light to do whatever it wants in the region, so why should they bother to sign a deal?"
Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) said a bad nuclear deal would endanger the security of America and its allies.
"The Iranian terror state continues to show its true nature as it sidesteps the international sanctions regime during negotiations, and expands its threat into Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Worse, the administration’s reported nuclear concessions to Ayatollah Khamenei will only keep Iran at the threshold of getting nuclear bombs. A bad nuclear deal will further empower Iran and endanger the security of America, Israel, and other allies in the Middle East."
As the nuclear talks continue, Iranian leaders have stepped up their rhetoric against the United States, with top officials declaring that "Iran prepares itself for war with global powers."
Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the IRGC, celebrated a recent attack on Israel by the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah and promised that Tehran is readying itself to go to war with America.
"Iran prepares itself for war with global powers, and the Israeli’s are much smaller than them," Salami was quoted as saying by the state-controlled Fars New Agency (FNA).
"The response of Hezbollah to the Zionist regime shows a quick reaction, clear will, and their iron-like strength, resistance, and power," he added.
Salami also reiterated Iran’s commitment to fund and arm Palestinian terror groups.
"Opening up a new front across the West Bank, which is a major section of our dear Palestine, will be certainly on the agenda, and this is part of a new reality that will gradually emerge," Salami said in a recent television interview.
Similar remarks were made by Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC's commander, who celebrated Hezbollah’s "martyrdom" and vowed that the "fight against Zionists would not be brought to a halt."
While U.S. officials have claimed multiple times in recent months that progress is being made in the talks, Iranian officials deny that this is the case.
Abbas Araqchi, a top Iranian negotiator, said in recent days that it is too early to say that progress has been made.
"We still are not in a position where we can say we have had progress," Araqchi was quoted as saying by the FNA. "It is still too early to judge."
"If the counterpart shows realism, political resolve, and good will, we believe we are not so far from reaching an agreement," he said.