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US State and Treasury departments place sanctions on Tehran’s space program

“The United States will not allow Iran to use its space-launch program as cover to advance its ballistic-missile programs,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement announcing the sanctions.

This picture, released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on July 27, 2017, claims to show the Simorgh satellite-carrying rocket at Imam Khomeini National Space Center, Iran. Credit: Iranian Defense Ministry.
This picture, released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on July 27, 2017, claims to show the Simorgh satellite-carrying rocket at Imam Khomeini National Space Center, Iran. Credit: Iranian Defense Ministry.

Both the U.S State and Treasury departments announced on Tuesday that it has sanctioned Iran’s space agency for the first time, accusing it of developing weapons of mass destruction and other weapon capabilities, such as space-launch vehicle technologies, which the State Department alleged “are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles.”

“Iran’s civilian space-launch vehicle program allows it to gain experience with various technologies necessary for development of an ICBM, including staging, ignition of upper-stage engines, and control of a multiple-stage missile throughout flight,” said the State Department, adding that the regime’s space program violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from in May 2018, reimposing sanctions lifted under it alongside enacting new financial penalties against the regime.

“The United States will not allow Iran to use its space-launch program as cover to advance its ballistic-missile programs,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement announcing the sanctions.

Officials said Tuesday’s move is not directly related to last week’s attempt by Iran to launch a rocket into space, the regime’s third failure this year. The rocket apparently exploded on the launch pad.

“The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran. I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One,” tweeted U.S. President Donald Trump following the explosion.

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