The US is concerned that long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit can also be used to launch warheads. But Russia’s senior nuclear negotiator Sergey Ryabkov told IRNA vehicles for satellite launches can be distinguished from ICBMs.
PKONWEB Report (NEW YORK) — Iranian officials announced Tuesday that a satellite launch failed when the carrier rocket could not reach orbit–while the first two stages went according to plan, the third stage “did not reach enough speed … and was not put into orbit”, said the country’s official news agency, IRNA.
“I would have liked to make you happy with some good news, but sometimes life does not go as expected,” Iran’s minister of telecommunications, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, said in a Twitter post.
He said the rocket, a Safir, long used for satellite launches, had failed in the final stage, falling short of placing its payload into the correct orbit. He did not offer any explanation.
The United States, Israel and some European countries have criticized Iranian missile tests in the past, saying the launches pose a threat to the region. One reason President Trump gave for withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal was its failure to address the threat of Iran’s ballistic missiles.
Russia doesn’t agree and has said so. Its senior nuclear negotiator Sergey Ryabkov told IRNA vehicles for satellite launches can be distinguished from ICBMs.
“All the experts know that satellite carriers and non-nuclear surface-to-surface ballistic missiles are different structurally from missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads,” Ryabkov said.
However, Michael R. Pompeo, the US Secretary of Staten in a press statement criticized the launch stating that the Iranian regime fired off a space launch vehicle in continued defiance of the international community and UN Security Council Resolution 2231. “Such vehicles incorporate technologies that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles. Today’s launch furthers Iran’s ability to eventually build such a weapon.”
He added: “We have been clear that we will not stand for Iran’s flagrant disregard for international norms. The United States is working with our allies and partners to counter the entire range of the Islamic Republic’s threats, including its missile program, which threatens Europe and the Middle East.”
Pompeo’s statement appeared aimed at building a legal case for diplomatic, military or covert action against the Iranian missile program, said The New York Times.
“Mr. Pompeo’s words were something of a surprise, in that Iran has conducted modest space missions, mostly to deploy satellites, since 2005,” the NYT wrote.
Iran says that it needs rockets for its space program and missiles for self-defense, and that it has every right to conduct missile tests.
A senior American official told The New York Times recently that the Pentagon and intelligence agencies disagreed with Mr. Pompeo’s interpretation of the threat posed by the satellite launches.