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UK says Iranian military satellite launch ‘of significant concern’

Iranian Simorgh rocket - The opening of Imam Khomeini National Space Agency (RA). (Tasnim News Agency/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Britain says it is concerned over Iran’s launching of a military satellite and urged Tehran to uphold a United Nations resolution on refraining from such activities.

“Reports that Iran has carried out a satellite launch using ballistic-missile technology are of significant concern and inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on April 24.

After months of failed attempts, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on April 22 that it had launched a military satellite into orbit.

The IRGC said on its official website the satellite reached an orbit of 425 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

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“The UN has called upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” the British statement said.

“Iran must abide by this,” the Foreign Office said, adding that it had “significant and long-standing concerns” about Tehran’s ballistic-missile program, which poses a threat to regional security.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on April 22 that “Iran needs to be held accountable for what they’ve done.”

Iran has repeatedly denied that it is pursuing a nuclear arms program and that such launches are cover for ballistic-missile development.

In a tweet on April 24, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated Iran’s position that its missiles are not “designed” to carry nuclear arms, as required by the UN Resolution 2231.

“US has been bullying all against UNSC Resolution 2231 since 2017… Neither (Europe or the United States) can lecture Iran based on flimsy misreadings of UNSCR 2231,” Zarif said in the tweet.

“Iran neither has nukes nor missiles ‘DESIGNED to be capable of carrying’ such horrific arms.”