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Iran To Continue Space (Ballistic Missile) Program Despite Trump Administration Warnings

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif struck a defiant tone Thursday when he vowed that Tehran would press forward with its space program despite warnings from the Trump administration. The initiative includes the launching into orbit of satellites containing so-called dual-use technologies that are applicable to the development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. This comes after United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who currently is on an eight-country Middle East tour, called on the Islamic Republic to “reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation.” Zarif’s statements come as the Iranian economy is beginning to feel the bite of renewed American sanctions that were re-imposed on its vital energy, shipping and banking sectors following President Donald Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord. On Wednesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted U.S. leaders as “first-class idiots,” adding that their defeat will be “unprecedented.”