update desk

Iran launches first of two planned satellite-carrying rockets into space

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned weeks ago about the Islamic Republic activating space-launch vehicles, which officials and experts contend is a cover for the regime’s ballistic-missile ambitions.

Iran launches a rocket carrying the Payam satellite on Jan. 15, 2019, which successfully passed its first and second phases, but failed in the third stage of its release. Credit: Screenshot.
Iran launches a rocket carrying the Payam satellite on Jan. 15, 2019, which successfully passed its first and second phases, but failed in the third stage of its release. Credit: Screenshot.

Iran launched a satellite-carrying rocket into space on Tuesday amid fears from Israel and the United States.

However, although the rocket carrying the Payam satellite successfully passed its first and second phases, but it did not reach “necessary speed” in the third stage of its release, Iranian Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi told state television.

Payam means “message” in Farsi.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced earlier this month that the regime would be launching two satellites into space “using our domestically made rockets” within the coming weeks.

The second satellite, Doosti, means “friendship” in Farsi. It is unknown when it will launch.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned weeks ago about the Islamic Republic activating space-launch vehicles, which officials and experts contend is a cover for the regime’s ballistic-missile ambitions.

Pompeo said that such a launch would violate U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which adopted the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. “It calls upon the Iranian regime not to undertake any activity related to ballistic-missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” he said.

“This action includes launching SLVs, which incorporate technology that is virtually identical to that used in ballistic missiles, including in intercontinental ballistic-missiles [ICBMs],” he continued. “An ICBM with a range of 10,000 kilometers could reach the United States.”

“The United States has continuously cautioned that ballistic missile and SLV launches by the Iranian regime have a destabilizing effect on the region and beyond,” he added. “France, Germany, the United Kingdom and many nations from around the world have also expressed deep concern.”

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday’s launch.

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