The US State Department has placed new sanctions on Iran’s space and satellite agency.
The US alleges that Iran’s plans to launch satellites are simply surreptitious methods to launch dangerous ballistic missiles. Iran says it is working to launch satellites, including for communications purposes, but its tests have resulted in explosions several times, including a major rocket explosion a few days ago.
The rules apply to the Iran Space Agency as well as two research institutes working in Iran.
“The United States will not allow Iran to use its space launch program as cover to advance its ballistic missile programs,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in announcing the sanctions. “These designations should serve as a warning to the international scientific community that collaborating with Iran’s space programme could contribute to Tehran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon delivery system,” he added.
A few days ago, a rocket exploded on the ground at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran.
The US argues that Iran’s attempts to launch satellites violates a United Nations Security Council resolution which required Iran not to develop rockets or ballistic missiles.
The US sanctions could lead to penalties on foreign governments or companies dealing with the Iran Space Agency or its affiliated research institutes.