Authorities announced their plan to press ahead with the launch of three satellites into orbit this year despite a U.S. move to curb Tehran’s ballistic missile program which Washington says has been advanced in light of the satellite activity.
Under section 3 in Annex B of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which is the only document that provided necessary ratification to the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Tehran; Iran is called upon “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
Despite this clear international demand, Iran has repeatedly violated the resolution, even prior to the U.S. decision to withdraw from the deal, by launching dozens of ballistic missiles, in addition to attempting to launch satellites into orbit, which demand “ballistic missile technology.”
Nevertheless, Iran’s telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi continues to insist that the Islamic Republic has every right to preserve its missile activities. According to the Iranian Telecoms Minister: “The rockets which have currently been developed in Iran for carrying satellites are not something that are a cover for another kind of rocket activity. Because if Iran wants to have missile activity it’s something that it is doing openly. It’s not something that is hidden. It’s part of our right to defense.”
In response to a failed Iranian attempt to launch a satellite in January, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement at the time, in which he stressed that “The launch yet again shows that Iran is pursuing enhanced missile capabilities that threaten Europe and the Middle East.” In addition to other activities that endanger the United States and its allies in Europe and the Middle East, the top American diplomat reiterated, in a U.S. Senate Committee hearing, that President Trump will continue to ratchet up pressure on the Ayatollah regime. “But suffice it to say President Trump. I can I can assure the American people I can assure the world President Trump will continue to ratchet up the pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran such that their behavior will change,” the U.S. Secretary of State said.
Secretary Pompeo further underscored that the United States will hold Iran responsible for any harm that comes to U.S. interests anywhere around the world, regardless of whether Tehran does so directly or by means of proxy forces.