TEL AVIV – A senior Iranian missile force commander claimed that U.S. officials are secretly instructing the Islamic Republic to keep its ballistic missile tests secret so as not to alarm the region, according to the Iranian Tasnim News Agency.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Aerospace and Missile Force, said in an address to students in Qom on May 14 that the Obama administration is anxious that the missile tests remain clandestine so as not to raise questions about whether Iran is adhering to the nuclear deal.
“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 in the speech translated by MEMRI.
“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 continued.
The IRGC commander further claimed that the U.S., which “cannot be trusted,” would do everything in its power to ensure that its missiles were not capable of being nuclearized.
“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 into pieces] or, like [Libyan dictator Mu’ammar] Gadhafi, load them on to a ship and hand [them] over to us.’ ”
“They are clearly deluding themselves. Nothing like this will ever happen,” he added.
Nevertheless, Hajizadeh said, it is up to Iran to confront America.
“We must act. If we do not, we will witness daily their exaggerated and evil demands.”
A request by the Washington Free Beacon for a response was declined by a State Department official, who said 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.”