After failed launch, Iran plans to send 3 satellites to space
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After failed launch, Iran plans to send 3 satellites to space

State TV quotes official saying orbital craft will be used to send data for civilian purposes; US alleges the launches violate UN ban on testing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles

Illustrative: This picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Thursday, July 27, 2017, claims to show the Simorgh satellite-carrying rocket, center, before being launched into space from Imam Khomeini National Space Center in an undisclosed location, Iran. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)
Illustrative: This picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Thursday, July 27, 2017, claims to show the Simorgh satellite-carrying rocket, center, before being launched into space from Imam Khomeini National Space Center in an undisclosed location, Iran. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

Iran’s state TV said the country plans to send three satellites into orbit in the next three months despite a failed launch in August.

State television on Tuesday quoted the head of Iran’s space agency, Morteza Barari, as saying the satellites were to transmit data for civilian purposes such as navigation, agriculture and the environment. He didn’t elaborate.

In September, Iran acknowledged an explosion in its space center before a satellite launch, the third failure involving a rocket this year.

The US alleges such satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran says the tests do not have a military component.

Over the past decade Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit.

This image taken from the Twitter account of US President Donald J. Trump, shows what appears to be a US intelligence photo of the aftermath of an explosion at Iran’s Imam Khomeini Space Center in the country’s Semnan province, August 29, 2019, with the smoldering remains of a rocket on a launch pad at the center, which was to conduct a US-criticized satellite launch. (Twitter via AP)

Washington and Tehran have been locked in a bitter standoff since last year, when Trump unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Among other reasons, Trump faulted the international agreement for not limiting Iran’s missile development. Iranian leaders have said the country’s missile program is non-negotiable.

The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards boasted in late August that it successfully test-fired a new missile and last month Tehran unveiled three new precision-guided missiles, with its defense minister saying they show that the country is ready to defend itself in the face of US “viciousness and conspiracies.”

Iran has medium-range surface-to-surface missiles with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) that can reach Israel and US bases in the region.

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