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Iran Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit

Iran Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit

Sunday, 9 February, 2020 - 09:45
An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria September 9, 2019. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

An Iranian rocket failed to put a satellite into orbit Sunday, a defense ministry official said in the latest setback for a program the US claims helps Tehran advance its ballistic missile program.

"It was launched with success and ... we have reached most our aims ... but the "Zafar" satellite did not reach orbit as planned," the official told state television.

Iran carried out at least two failed satellite launches last year.

The United States says it is concerned that long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads. Tehran denies that satellite activity is a cover for missile development and says it has never pursued the development of nuclear weapons.

President Donald Trump’s administration reimposed sanctions on Iran following Washington’s 2018 withdrawal from an international accord designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Trump said the nuclear deal did not go far enough and did not include restrictions on Tehran’s missile program.

Tensions, already high over the nuclear issue, reached the highest level in decades between Iran and the United States after Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3. Iran retaliated with a missile attack against a US base in Iraq.

Iran launched its first satellite Omid (Hope) in 2009 and the Rasad (Observation) satellite was sent into orbit in June 2011. Tehran said in 2012 that it had successfully put its third domestically-made satellite Navid (Promise) into orbit.

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