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Western Condemnation after Failed Iran Satellite Launch

Western Condemnation after Failed Iran Satellite Launch

Thursday, 17 January, 2019 - 06:30
The Payam satellite is launched in Iran, January 15, 2019, in this still image taken from video. Reuters TV/via REUTERS
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
France on Wednesday condemned a failed Iranian satellite launch that it said used technology applicable to long-range missiles, hours after the United States accused Tehran of posing a missile threat.

“The Iranian ballistic program is a source of concern for the international community and France,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said.

Paris urged Tehran to stop all ballistic tests which are not in line with UN resolutions.

It was the latest in a string of French comments expressing irritation at Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program despite attempts over the last two years by France and other European powers to open talks on the subject with Iranian authorities.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of posing a missile threat after Tehran defied his warnings and tried to put the satellite into orbit.

Pompeo renewed his charge that the launch defied UN Security Council resolution 2231 of 2015, which endorsed an international agreement, from which the United States has withdrawn, on ending Iran's nuclear weapons.

"In defiance of the international community & UNSCR 2231, Iran's regime fired off a space launch vehicle today," Pompeo tweeted.

"The launch yet again shows that Iran is pursuing enhanced missile capabilities that threaten Europe and the Middle East," he wrote.

The reaction was relatively muted for a member of President Donald Trump's administration, which has ramped up pressure for months on Iran in hopes of crippling its economy and scaling back its influence in the region, Agence France Presse said.

The United States and Israel say Iran can use technical know-how from satellite launches to develop long-range missiles, an opinion not shared by all Western experts.

Iran's telecommunications minister said the country successfully launched the Payam satellite but that it failed to be placed into orbit.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Iran’s action in launching satellite is not against international law.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ignored the US and European warnings, saying Iran will be ready for a new satellite launch in a few months' time.

Rouhani was quoted by state media as saying that Iran had "achieved great success in building satellites and launching them. That means we are on the right track.

"The remaining problems are minor, will be resolved in a few months, and we will soon be ready for a new launch," he said.

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