Images Show Iran Failed to Launch Second Satellite Into Orbit

Iran denies any intention of boosting range of missiles
IRANIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY/AFP/HO
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV — Iran has failed in its second attempt to launch a satellite into space despite a warning from the U.S. against doing so, satellite images from two different companies showed. 

Iran did not immediately acknowledge conducting such a launch.

Images released to the media by two American companies, DigitalGlobe and Planet, show a rocket at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province on Tuesday and a day later scorch marks where the rocket once stood.

Iran has not commented on the matter.

The images feature the words “40 years” and “Iranian made” in Farsi, in apparent reference to the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

Iran has said it would launch its Doosti, or “friendship,” satellite to mark the 40th anniversary. The Doosti is a remote-sensing satellite developed by engineers at Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology that was intended to be launched into a low orbit, the Associated Press reported.

Last month, the Iranians launched a Simorgh, or “phoenix,” rocket but it too failed to reach orbit, according to Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi.

On Sunday, Jahromi said three researchers died “because of a fire in one of the buildings of the Space Research Center.”

Iran is suspected by the U.S. of using its satellite program to advance its ballistic missile capabilities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the Islamic Republic’s space program violates a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to stop all activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Pompeo said that rockets carrying the satellites “incorporate technology that is virtually identical to that used in ballistic missiles.”

Following Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement last month that Iran would be launching two satellites, Payam and Doosti, Pompeo threatened Iran with “deeper economic and diplomatic isolation” if the country goes ahead with the launches.

“The United States will not stand by and watch the Iranian regime’s destructive policies place international stability and security at risk,” Pompeo emphasized at the time.

 

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