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Pompeo Vows to Hold Iran Accountable for Satellite Launch

Pompeo Vows to Hold Iran Accountable for Satellite Launch

Wednesday, 22 April, 2020 - 05:30
FILE PHOTO - Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in Tehran September 22, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Iran on Wednesday for launching a satellite, accusing it of violating a UN Security Council resolution.

"I think Iran needs to be held accountable for what they've done," Pompeo told reporters.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) said Wednesday it launched a military satellite into orbit amid wider tensions with the US.

There was no immediate independent confirmation of the launch of the satellite, which the Guard called “Noor," or light.

The IRGC said the satellite successfully reached an orbit of 425 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

The two-stage satellite launch took off from Iran’s Central Desert, the Guard said, without elaborating.

Iran has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent months.

The Trump administration has long argued that Iran's satellite activities were a cover for ballistic missile work.

"The Iranians have consistently said that these missile programs were disconnected from the military, that these were purely commercial enterprises," Pompeo said.

"I think today's launch proves what we've been saying all along here in the United States," he said.

"I think every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent with that Security Council resolution. I don't think it remotely was."

He was referring to Security Council resolution 2231 of 2015 which called on Iran not to pursue any activities to develop ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear warheads.

The resolution's primary purpose was to give the international community's blessing to an agreement negotiated by then US president Barack Obama's administration under which Iran drastically scaled back nuclear work.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord and instead imposed sweeping sanctions. In January, Trump ordered a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general and he threatened Thursday to destroy Iranian gunboats if they harass US ships in the Gulf.

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