Iran has failed to put a satellite-carrying rocket into orbit in a launch criticized by the United States.
The launch took place at Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province, a facility under the control of the country’s Defence Ministry.
The rocket failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch, Washington Post quoted Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi as saying.
“The rocket successfully passed its first and second stages before developing problems in the third. That suggests something went wrong after the rocket pushed the satellite out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Iranian scientists will continue their work,” Jahromi said.
Washington warned Tehran this month against undertaking three planned space rocket launches that it said would violate a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution owing to the usage of ballistic missile technology.
“Iran’s space programme could help it develop a missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon to the mainland US,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after the launch.
The Islamic Republic says it does not seek nuclear weapons and maintains that its satellite launches and rocket tests do not have a military component. Tehran also says they don’t violate a UN resolution that only “called upon” it not to conduct such tests.
Pompeo said the vehicle that Iran tried to put into orbit uses technology that is “virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.”
He said the US is working with its partners “to counter the entire range of the Islamic Republic’s threats, including its missile programme, which threatens Europe and the Middle East.”