A senior Iranian military commander claimed that U.S. officials are quietly encouraging the Islamic Republic to keep its illicit ballistic missile tests a secret so as not to raise concerns in the region, according to Persian language comments.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Aerospace and Missile Force, said in recent remarks that the Obama administration does not want Iran to publicize its ongoing missile tests, which have raised questions about the Islamic Republic’s commitment to last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement.
"At this time, the Americans are telling [us]: 'Don't talk about missile affairs, and if you conduct a test or maneuver, don't mention it,'" Hajizadeh was quoted as saying during a recent Persian-language speech that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
"If we agree to this, they will advance another step, and say: 'Don't conduct [a missile test] at this time, and also don't do it in the Persian Gulf region.' After that, they will tell us: 'Why do you need your missiles to have a range of 2,000 km [anyway?]?' Hajizadeh reportedly said.
The military commander expressed concern that the United States will attempt to dissuade Iran from developing missile technology capable of carrying a nuclear payload.
"After that, they will tell [us]: 'Next, we will check whether your missiles can really carry nuclear weapons. Bring us the details [of the missiles].' After that, they will say: 'We need to set up cameras.' And, finally, they will say: 'Either saw [the missiles up into pieces] or, like [Libyan dictator Mu'ammar] Gadhafi, load them onto a ship and hand [them] over to us.'" he said.
Hajizadeh further claimed that the United States "cannot be trusted."
Iran, he said, "must face them down firmly, and we must act. If we do not, we will witness daily their exaggerated and evil demands."
"They are clearly deluding themselves. Nothing like this will ever happen," he added.
A State Department official declined to comment on the remarks, telling the Washington Free Beacon that it is U.S. policy to avoid responding publicly to Iran.
"We generally don’t comment on public remarks by Iranian officials, and especially IRGC officials," the official told the Free Beacon. "We’re not going to start now."