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US condemns latest Iranian attempt at satellite launch

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo addresses the media and takes questions following the UN Security Council meeting on Iran. at the United Nations, in New York City on December 12, 2018. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/Released)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United States has condemned Iran’s latest attempt at launching a satellite into orbit, warning that Washington “will not stand for Iran’s blatant disregard for international norms.”

The January 15 statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came hours after Iranian officials announced they had launched a rocket carrying an ecological monitoring satellite but that the mission had failed.

The attempted launch, and the sharp response from Washington, were the latest indication of mounting tensions in the region as the United States tries to turn up pressure on Tehran.

In comments to Iranian state TV, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi did not say what caused the failure of the rocket but vowed that scientists would continue their research.

He later said in a post on Twitter that another satellite would soon be launched.

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President Hassan Rohani said earlier this week that the two satellites were both intended to gather information on environmental change in Iran.

Pompeo asserted in his statement that Iran’s satellite program uses technologies “that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles.”

“We have been clear that we will not stand for Iran’s flagrant disregard for international norms,” he said.

The launch drew condemnation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well, who alleged it was actually “the first stage of an intercontinental missile.”

Iran insists the launches do not violate United Nations resolutions aimed at curtailing its rocket programs.

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