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France Demands Iran Cease Ballistic Missile Activity after Satellite Launch

France Demands Iran Cease Ballistic Missile Activity after Satellite Launch

Thursday, 23 April, 2020 - 18:15
A first military satellite named Noor is launched into orbit by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, in Semnan, Iran April 22, 2020. (Reuters)

France on Thursday condemned Iran’s launch of a military satellite into orbit, saying it violated a UN Security Council resolution, according to the Foreign Ministry.

France also calls on Iran to immediately cease all activity related to the development of ballistic missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, a ministry statement said.

“The Iranian ballistics program is a major concern for regional and international security. It contributes to the destabilization of the region and the rise in tensions,” it said.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard conducted a space launch Wednesday that could advance the country’s long-range missile program. The move stoked already high tensions between Washington and Tehran.

President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian gunboats that harass Navy ships.

The launch was a first for the Guard, revealing what experts described as a secret military space program that could accelerate Iran’s ballistic missile development.

American officials said it was too early to know whether an operational Iranian satellite was successfully placed into orbit. Trump’s top diplomat accused Iran of violating UN resolutions.

At the Pentagon, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Hyten, welcomed Trump’s tweet as a useful warning to Iran. He drew a parallel between last week’s naval encounter in the Gulf and Wednesday’s space launch, which said was “just another example of Iranian malign behavior.”

“And it goes right along with the harassment from the fastboats. ... You put those two things together and it’s just more examples of Iranian malign behavior and misbehavior,” Hyten said.

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