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Iran Fails to Launch Satellite into Orbit

Iran Fails to Launch Satellite into Orbit

Tuesday, 15 January, 2019 - 11:00
A Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite rocket at its launch site at an undisclosed location in Iran in July 2017. (AFP)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran conducted on Tuesday a satellite launch that failed to reach orbit, an official said.

The rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi told Iranian state television, as reported by the Associated Press (AP).

Tuesday's launch took place at Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan province, a facility under the control of the country's Defense Ministry, Jahromi said.

Satellite images published last week and first reported by CNN showed activity at the launch site. Given the facility's launching corridor, the satellite likely fell in the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi played down warnings from Washington and Paris over the violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, stressing that his country would not wait for permission from others.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said that Iran’s plans for sending satellites into orbit reflected the country’s defiance of Resolution 2231, which calls on Tehran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

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 international agreements.

A spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry also called on Iran to abort the plan to launch “nuclear-capable missiles.”

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani emphasized that the satellite would monitor the climate from 600 kilometers above the Earth.

“We are not scared by the enemies’ plots and will overcome the existing problems,” he said, adding that the US and its allies “cannot bring the Iranian nation to its knees.”

In the same context, Qassemi claimed that technology was the subject of consultations between Tehran and a European country, which he refused to name, accusing the European state of “abandoning the agreement” in this regard.

He stressed that as “Europeans withdrew their promises, we have made progress,” denying any violation of Resolution 2231.

French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll called on Tehran to “immediately cease all ballistic missile-related activities designed to carry nuclear weapons, including tests using ballistic missile technology.”

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