Iran Launches Military Satellite into Space, Raising New Nuclear Weapon Fears

Iranian missile technology is in the news again. Former US Amb. to UN Nikki Haley showing Iranian-made weapons used in Middle East conflict. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of UNITED STATES MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—Iran’s most powerful paramilitary group—claimed to have launched a military satellite into space last Wednesday (April 22), an action that was condemned by the United States and Israel, who warned the move could mark progress toward missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. “This satellite launch vehicle and others launched before it incorporate technologies identical to, and interchangeable with, ballistic missiles, including longer-range systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a press release on Saturday from the State Department. “No country has ever pursued an ICBM capability except for the purpose of delivering nuclear weapons.”

IRGC Top Commander Major General Hossein Salami claimed that the military satellite will enable Iran to “see the world from space” and increase their intelligence gathering capabilities, according to the Fars News Agency. Commander of IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted by the report as saying the rocket uses liquid and solid-state fuel, technology that “only the superpowers enjoy.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat on Twitter said the launch shows ongoing Iranian efforts towards building a nuclear weapons program. “Israel strongly condemns Iran’s attempt to launch a military satellite by its Revolutionary Guard’s, a Foreign Terror Organization, designated by the US. Today’s attempt at launching a satellite is just a façade for Iran’s continues development of advanced missile technology,” tweeted Haiat in a series of posts, following by noting that the missile technology under development includes that which “can carry a nuclear warhead.” 

Haiat said the launch was a “breach” of United Nations Security Council’s resolution 2231 and Iran’s commitments to the global community. “Israel calls upon the international community to condemn this latest launch, and impose further sanctions on the Iranian regime. All in order to deter it from continuing such dangerous and opposing activity,” tweeted Haiat.

The US didn’t hold back in their condemnation of the launch either, noting the move by the IRGC exposed Iran’s claims that their space program was peaceful as another lie. “Iran’s space program is neither peaceful nor entirely civilian,” said Pompeo in his prepared remarks, noting that last week’s launch was done in secret.

“All peace-loving nations must reject Iran’s development of ballistic-missile capable technologies and join together to constrain Iran’s dangerous missile programs,” said Pompeo. He called for the European Union to sanction the persons and entities developing Iran’s missile program and for the international community to endorse the extension of the UN conventional arms embargo on Iran, which is due to expire in October.

“The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism should not be allowed to buy and sell conventional weapons,” said Pomepo.

The timing of the launch—in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has hit Iran as well as other nations around the world—wasn’t missed by Pompeo or Israel. Haiat noted in his Twitter posts, “The Iranian regime continues to focus its efforts on military aggression, instead of mending its failure in dealing with the Coronavirus’s outbreak, that has affected tens of thousands of Iran’s citizens.”

Pompeo felt similarly, and in separate comments to reporters last Wednesday republished by the State Department, Pompeo pointed out Iran’s hypocrisy in asking for coronavirus aid and then launching a military satellite. “The Iranian regime has gone around the world spreading disinformation in response to this virus. One of the things they’ve said is that, boy, we need resources in order to take care of the virus at home. And all the while they are launching satellites, driving ships around the Arabian Gulf, coming and harassing US naval vessels,” said Pompeo.

“…I hope that the Iranian regime will respond to the Iranian people’s demands to prioritize resources, resources that the Iranian regime clearly has, to the health and security and safety of the Iranian people, rather than continuing their global terror campaign.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, April 26, 2020)

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