Iran conducts failed satellite launch, despite US warning

Iran conducts failed satellite launch, despite US warning
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Iran conducted a satellite launch that failed on Tuesday, even after the U.S. warned against it proceeding.

Iran’s telecoms minister said the rocket carrying the satellite did not reach “adequate speed” in the launch’s third stage for the rocket to be placed into orbit.

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“I would have liked to make everybody happy with good news but sometimes life doesn’t go forward the way we anticipate,” Telecoms Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi wrote on Twitter, according to a translation by Reuters.

Tuesday’s launch comes after Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump fires back at Graham over Iran criticism Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE earlier this month warned Iran against three planned space launches. The launches would violate a United Nations Security Resolution by incorporating ballistic missile technology, Pompeo said.

“The United States will not stand by and watch the Iranian regime’s destructive policies place international stability and security at risk,” Pompeo said in a Jan. 3 statement. “We advise the regime to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation.”

The Security Council resolution in question says Iran “is called upon” not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles, but does not explicitly ban the activity.

The resolution was passed in July 2015 to endorse the Iran nuclear deal. In May, President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal.

On Tuesday, Pompeo said the satellite launch "furthers Iran’s ability to eventually build" an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"We have been clear that we will not stand for Iran’s flagrant disregard for international norms," Pompeo said in a statement. "The United States is working with our allies and partners to counter the entire range of the Islamic Republic’s threats, including its missile program, which threatens Europe and the Middle East."

Iran denies that its space program is a cover for weapons development, holding that the program is peaceful.

Tuesday’s satellite was mounted with four cameras and was intended for imaging and communications purposes, according to the telecoms ministry. The satellite was named Payam, which is Farsi for “message.”

Another satellite is awaiting a launch, the ministry said. That satellite is named Doosti, which is Farsi for “friendship.” 

Iran typically displays space achievements in February, around the time of the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. For the 30th anniversary of the revolution in 2009, Iran launched its first domestically built satellite, called Omid or “hope.”

Updated at 6:13 p.m.