France condemns Iran satellite launch, urges Tehran to respect obligations
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France condemns Iran satellite launch, urges Tehran to respect obligations

Though space shot failed to reach orbit, Paris says ballistic program hurts regional stability and affects European security

Illustrative: An Iranian rocket carrying a satellite is launched from Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province, February 9, 2020. (Screenshot, IRIB via AP)
Illustrative: An Iranian rocket carrying a satellite is launched from Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province, February 9, 2020. (Screenshot, IRIB via AP)

PARIS, France — France on Monday condemned a bid by Iran to put a satellite in space, urging Tehran to abide by international obligations on its controversial ballistic missile program.

“France condemns this launch, which calls on technologies used for ballistic missiles and, in particular, intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement after Iran announced it “successfully” launched a satellite Sunday, but failed to put it into orbit.

Recalling Iran’s obligations under a 2018 UN Security Council resolution, the ministry added: “Iran’s ballistic program hurts regional stability and affects European security. France calls on Iran to fully respect its international obligations in this matter.”

Washington has long raised concerns in the past about Tehran’s satellite program, saying the launch of a carrier rocket in January 2019 amounted to a violation of limits on its ballistic missiles.

US President Donald Trump has justified his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord by the need to reach a more comprehensive agreement that also covers the Iranian ballistic program.

The Zafar — “Victory” in Persian — satellite was launched on a Simorgh carrier rocket but failed to reach orbit.

Days before the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution and crucial parliamentary elections in Iran, Tehran on Sunday also unveiled a new short-range ballistic missile and its “new generation” of engines designed to put satellites into space.

The Revolutionary Guards’ website said the Raad-500 missile was equipped with new Zoheir engines made of composite materials that make them lighter than previous steel models.

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