US warns Iran against space mission

US warns Iran against space mission
Washington alleges that Iran's space mission is cover for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.
2 min read
03 January, 2019
Iran's space programme has come under fire from the US [Getty]
The US warned Iran on Thursday against going ahead with the launch of three vehicles into space, saying the move would violate UN resolutions.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter that the launch vehicles Iran intended to put into space strongly resemble Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) technology and that Washington strongly condemns their use.

"Iran plans to fire off Space Launch Vehicles with virtually same technology as ICBMs," he tweeted on Thursday.

"The launch will advance its missile programme. US, France, UK & Germany have already stated this is in defiance of UNSCR 2231. We won't stand by while the regime threatens international security."

Such ICBMs would be capable of reaching the United States and in a statement Pompeo again said that Washington would not allow the Iranian "regime's destructive policies [to] place international stability and security at risk".

"We advise the regime to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation," he said in the statement.

Pompeo alleged that the launch would violate UN Security Council Resolution 2231 of 2015, which sought to end Tehran's nuclear programme and called on Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons".

Iran's foreign minister hit back hours later saying that the launch was not in violation of the resolution.

"Iran's launch of space vehicles - & missile tests - are NOT in violation of Res 2231. The US is in material breach of same, & as such it is in no position to lecture anyone on it," Javad Zarif tweeted.

"Reminder to the US: 1. Res 1929 is dead; 2. threats engender threats, while civility begets civility.

President Donald Trump ended the US participation in the historic nuclear deal with Iran in May, claiming that Tehran's continued missile tests and interference in the region were violated of UN resolutions.

Two rounds of punishing US sanctions were placed on Iran to strangle Tehran's economy, while European nations have desperately sought ways around the penalties to continue trade.

Iran's deputy Defence Minister Brigadier General Ghasem Taghizadeh, said in November that Tehran would launch three satellites into space "in the coming months".

"These satellites have been built with native know-how and will be positioned in different altitudes," he said, according to the ISNA news agency.

US intelligence has warned that the space technology could easily be converted to long-range missiles.

Agencies contributed to this story.