Sabotage by secret U.S. government forces may be the reason Iran’s satellite program is struggling, according to the country’s foreign minister.
Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday in an interview with NBC News in Munich, Germany, it’s possible there is a concerted U.S. campaign against Iranian satellite launches which contributed to Tehran’s failed attempts to launch two satellites in as many months.
“It’s quite possible. We don’t know yet,” he said when pushed on the topic of alleged malevolent U.S. actions. “We need to look into it very carefully.”
Both attempts took place despite U.S. criticism that Iran’s space program helps the country develop ballistic missiles. Iran denies the charge.
Zarif said Tehran was already investigating the failed satellite launches in January and February, but was now “looking into the specifics” of a sabotage campaign following a report in the New York Times this week.
Current and former US officials told the Times the Trump administration had accelerated a George W. Bush-era program to sabotage Iran’s development of rockets and missiles.
As Breitbart News reported, images released to the media by two American companies, DigitalGlobe and Planet, last week 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.
SCOOPLET: Iran’s second space launch attempt in less than a month is an apparent failure, according to @DaveSchmerler @ArmsControlWonk based on imagery from @planetlabs:https://t.co/J9AjGV0HsP pic.twitter.com/D5DuUTCQZT
— Geoff Brumfiel (@gbrumfiel) February 6, 2019
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.
Jahromi said three researchers died “because of a fire in one of the buildings of the Space Research Center.”
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