“Iran’s defense capabilities will not be on the agenda of any negotiations, but Iran will enhance its defense and missile capability,” said Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
The commander stressed that Iran’s missile know-how is completely indigenous.
Hajizadeh argued that the West’s pressures against Iran over its nuclear energy program are aimed at laying the groundwork for discussing Tehran’s missile capability and the country’s connection with Hezbollah resistance movement in the course of nuclear talks.
He noted that Iran will never enter such discussions, adding, “We are not optimistic [about nuclear talk], but the administration should continue this process.”
In February, Wendy Sherman, Washington’s top nuclear negotiator in talks with Iran, said during a Senate hearing that the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program would be addressed as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal.
White House National Security Council (NSC) Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan also said in February that the US aims to stop Iran’s missile tests under a final deal over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
However, Iranian officials have time and again stressed that the nuclear issue will be the only subject on the agenda of the talks between Iran and the six powers and that Tehran will not negotiate over its missile capability.
Iran and the Sextet – the United States, the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia – wrapped up their latest round of nuclear talks in Vienna on May 16 with no tangible progress in writing the draft text of a comprehensive agreement.
Tehran has dismissed notions that the nuclear talks have reached a deadlock, and underlined its determination to continue the process.