Iran Launching Satellite Amid Fears It Is Developing Nuclear-capable Missiles
Iran announced on Sunday that it was launching a satellite – part of a program whose actual purpose, the US suspects, is the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to carry nuclear warheads. “The Zafar satellite will be placed in orbit today from Semnan at a speed of 7,400 kilometers [per hour],” Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said, according to the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting news agency. Iran unsuccessfully carried out at least two attempted satellite launches last year. The same technology used to put satellites into orbit could be used to deliver nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. Iran says it has never pursued the development of such weapons, although with the Trump Administration’s 2018 withdrawal from the international accord to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, and a renewal of sanctions the deal had lifted, Iran says it is no longer abiding by some of the key limitations. One of US President Donald Trump’s objections to the deal was that it did not restrict Tehran’s ballistic missile program.