U.S. on Iran’s Failed Satellite Launch

January 16, 2019

On January 15, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi announced that Iran's effort to launch a satellite failed. The rocket carrying the Payam satellite never reached the requisite speed to get into orbit. The United States had warned Iran against pursuing three planned rocket launches, alleging that they use ballistic missile technology and would therefore be violations of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. “Such vehicles incorporate technologies that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement following the launch. 

Iran plans to send two nonmilitary satellites into orbit, the Payam and Doosti. In a tweet, Minister Jahromi said Iran “should not come up short or stop” its efforts. Iranian officials have argued that its satellite launches and rockets are not designed for military purposes. They have also emphasized that the resolution only “calls upon” Iran to not test missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The following is a statement by Secretary Pompeo. 

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Iran’s Firing of Space Launch Vehicle Defies International Community 

In continued defiance of the international community and UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the Iranian regime fired off a space launch vehicle today.  Such vehicles incorporate technologies that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.  Today’s launch furthers Iran’s ability to eventually build such a weapon.

We have been clear that we will not stand for Iran’s flagrant disregard for international norms.  The United States is working with our allies and partners to counter the entire range of the Islamic Republic’s threats, including its missile program, which threatens Europe and the Middle East.