Iran's Launched Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit

Iran's Launched Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly slammed Iran over the launch, accusing Tehran of lying and alleging that the "innocent satellite" was actually "the first stage of an intercontinental missile" Iran is developing in violation of global agreements.

Iran considers its space programme "a matter of national pride", although an exact number of nuclear weapons is not known.

In a tweet on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran had carried out the launch "in defiance of the worldwide community" and added: "The launch yet again shows that Iran is pursuing enhanced missile capabilities that threaten Europe and the Middle East".

He did not give a date for the launch but said the satellite was meant to orbit the earth at an altitude of 250 kilometres (156 miles).

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that an Iranian-made satellite named "Payam" will be put into orbit at 600 kilometers altitude above Earth in the near future.

The US has feared Iran poses a threat to its immediate allies in the region - namely Saudi Arabia and Israel - and is sponsoring militants and terrorists in Syria and Lebanon.

Resolution 2231 called on Iran to refrain from any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

"We will do our best to place it in the orbit", he added.

The preparations for the launch had sparked global fears that the Iranian government was using it as a pretext to carry out ballistic missile testing.

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In comments to Iranian state TV, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi did not say what caused the failure of the rocket but vowed that scientists would continue their research.

"We have been clear that we will not stand for Iran's flagrant disregard for global norms", he said.

Iran usually displays space achievements in February during the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran's satellite-delivery rockets used technology "virtually identical" to nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, Pompeo said on January 3.

The Trump administration has already reinstated all of the sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the Obama administration.

Iran insists the launches do not violate United Nations resolutions aimed at curtailing its rocket programs.

"The satellite is part of a civil project with purely scientific aims, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told the semi-official ISNA news agency".

In recent years, Iran has been able to launch into orbit its Simorgh and Pajouhesh satellites, which remained a short while in orbit.

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