WASHINGTON: The US accused Iran of developing missiles through satellite bid and vowed 'enormous pressure' on Tuesday.
On Sunday, an Iranian "Phoenix" rocket launched from Khomeini Spaceport in the country's Semman province failed to put the Zafar 1 communications satellite into orbit due to low speed.
In a State Department statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "The Iranian regime uses satellite launches to develop its ballistic missile capabilities, the technologies used to launch satellites into orbit are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in longer range systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“Each launch, whether failed or not, further allows Iran to gain experience using such technologies that could benefit its missile programs under the guise of a peaceful space program.
Pompeo further criticised the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump pulled the US out of in 2018 while slapping sweeping sanctions on Iran.
“Iran’s series of space launches reflects the failure of the Iran deal to constrain testing that could support further advancement of Iran’s ballistic missile program, the Iran deal lifted the prohibition on Iran’s missile testing and development of systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons and we are seeing the dangerous consequences today.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran soared last month after Trump ordered a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, as he visited Iraq, where Iranian-allied Shiite militias had fired rockets on bases housing US troops.
“The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism should not be allowed to develop and test ballistic missiles. This common sense standard must be restored by the international community.
“The United States will continue to build support around the world to confront the Iranian regime’s reckless ballistic missile activity, and we will continue to impose enormous pressure on the regime to change its behavior,” he added.