Pompeo: Iran’s Failed Satellite Launch Guises Its Ballistic Program

By Victor Westerkamp

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Tehran’s failed civil satellite launch, which he says was a cover to further its nuclear ballistic program.

“The Iranian regime uses satellite launches to develop its ballistic missile capabilities. The technologies used to launch satellites into orbit are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in longer-range systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles,” Pompeo said in a press release by the Department of State. “Each launch, whether failed or not, further allows Iran to gain experience using such technologies that could benefit its missile programs under the guise of a peaceful space program.”

Pompeo also attests that Iran’s space launches reflect its ambitions to promote its ballistic missile program further and that the nuclear deal the two countries previously agreed upon gave the Iranians the possibility to continue its ballistic and nuclear ambitions under the guise of its civil space program.

“The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism should not be allowed to develop and test ballistic missiles. This common sense standard must be restored by the international community,” the statement continued.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters about additional sanctions placed on Iran, at the White House on January 10, 2019, in Washington with and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

“The United States will continue to build support around the world to confront the Iranian regime’s reckless ballistic missile activity, and we will continue to impose enormous pressure on the regime to change its behavior,” Pompeo finalized.

Iran Fails to Launch Satellite

Iran’s failure to launch a domestically-made Zafar satellite into the earth’s orbit on Feb. 9, was admitted by a defense ministry official told state television.

The Zafar-1 (which means “Victory” in Farsi) satellite, which was lost in Sunday’s failed launch, was reportedly part of a pair of spacecraft which was developed for dual-purpose communication and remote sensing mission.

Sunday’s attempt marks the third consecutive launch failure for Iran since the start of 2019. It comes amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington, who claim that the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads.

Failed Iranian satellite launch
A satellite image shows preparations at a rocket launch pad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province on Feb. 4, 2020. (Maxar Technologies via AP)

In 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he would be withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and signed an Executive Order to reimpose tight sanctions on Iran previously lifted as a part of the agreement.

Epoch Times reporter Katabella Roberts and Reuters contributed to this report.