Iran Attempts to Launch Satellite Into Orbit, Despite U.S. Warnings

January 15, 2019, 8:23 PM UTC

Iran attempted to launch a satellite into space Tuesday, but the rocket did not reach orbit, failing in the third stage of its launch, the Associated Press reports.

The Payam, the object of Tuesday’s failed launch, is one of two telecommunications satellites that Iran reportedly plans to send into orbit, despite warnings from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that such practices would have international repercussions.

Pompeo has argued that the satellite rockets use technology that is “virtually identical to that used in ballistic missiles,” CNN reports, and thus violate a UN Security Council resolution in connection to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“We advise the regime to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation,” Pompeo said in a statement two weeks ago, according to the network.

The satellite-launching technology reportedly does not use intercontinental ballistic missiles, however, and Iran argues that the satellites are for telecommunications purposes.

The Trump administration has long been harshly critical of Iran, pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal last year and implementing sanctions against the country’s oil, shipping, and banking sectors. According to Pompeo’s warning, Iran’s continuation of the satellite launches could result in further sanctions.