Despite US warning, Iran launches satellite and fails later

Tehran: Iran on Tuesday launched a satellite that it says ‘failed to reach orbit’, despite the warning by the US against the launch and threatening to impose additional sanctions on the Middle East country.

The satellite “did not reach enough speed in the third stage and was not put into orbit,” said Mohammad Jahromi, the country’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, who was quoted by CNN citing IRNA news agency.

He added that another satellite would be launched soon.

Jahromi made the comments during a ceremony to mark the launch of the satellite at Imam Khomeini Spaceport, located in the northern Iranian province of Semnan.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concerns about Iran’s plan to launch a satellite, threatening to slap additional sanctions to cripple Tehran’s economy.

In a statement on January 3, Pompeo argued that the planned satellite launch violated a UN Security Council resolution passed in support of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying Tehran’s launch vehicles “incorporate technology that is virtually identical to that used in ballistic missiles, including in intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).”

The top US diplomat, who was on a whirlwind Middle East tour recently, defended the imposition of sanctions by the Donald Trump administration stating that it was a “campaign to stop Iran’s malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world.”

On November 5 last year, the US had imposed the “toughest-ever” sanctions on Iran’s banking, energy and shipping industries, with an aim to alter the “behaviour” of the country’s regime.

Despite this, Iran has vowed to continue to carry out its missile tests and satellite launches.