Iran reports successful launch of first military satellite
TEHRAN, Iran — After three failed attempts, Iran has launched a military satellite into space on the fourth attempt.
According to the state-run news agency Irna, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) launched the “Nur-1” (Light-1) satellite on Wednesday in an undisclosed desert area and successfully placed it in an orbit at a height of 264 miles in two stages.
The successful satellite launch was a major achievement for the Islamic Republic, the IRGC said in a statement.
In February the launch of the 287-pound “Zafar” (Victory) satellite from the Semnan space center in central Iran was successful. However, the satellite could not reach the desired orbit due to its low speed. Before that, two other attempts had failed.
According to Tehran, the Iranian satellites are supposed to only provide data on weather, natural disasters and agriculture and not pursue any military objectives, meaning their use is in accordance with international regulations.
According to the IRGC, the Nur-1 satellite is a military satellite.
The United States and Israel are generally critical of the Iranian satellite program because they fear that Iran may use space technology to build long-range military missiles.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Iran “needs to be held accountable” for the launch.
“The IRGC — a designated terrorist organization — launched a missile today,” Pompeo told reporters.
“Every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent” with a Security Council resolution, he said, adding: “I don’t think it remotely is.”
“The Iranians have consistently said that these missile programs were disconnected from their military, that these were purely commercial enterprises,” Pompeo said. “I think today’s launch proves what we’ve been saying all along here in the United States.”
Israel, meanwhile, condemned Iran’s “attempt at launching a satellite,” calling it a facade for Tehran’s attempts to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles and ones capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
The launch violates a U.N. Security Council resolution as well as Iran’s commitments to the international community, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said, adding that Tehran should face tougher sanctions.
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