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Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 30, 2020
U.N. Security Council -

France and Germany joined the United States in condemning Iran's launch of a military satellite, suggesting it was a violation of a United Nations resolution.
Iran launched its Nour-1 military satellite on a Qased ballistic missile last week, announcing that the satellite was successfully installed in orbit 264 miles above the earth.

U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Saturday condemned the launch, suggesting the missile used to send Nour-1 to space is the same as those used for ballistic missiles. The commander of the U.S. Space Force also questioned whether the satellite was even capable of providing intelligence, as the Iranian government.

"Iran states it has imaging capabilities-actually, it's a tumbling webcam in space; unlikely providing intel," Gen. John Raymond, Space Force commander, wrote on Twitter on Saturday, adding that the United States is tracking the satellite.

The action could be interpreted as a violation of Resolution 2231, adopted by the U.N. Security Council as part of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. Although the United States withdrew from the agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in 2018, Germany and France are among countries committed to the agreement.

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the United States' withdrawal from the JCPOA disqualifies it from considering sanctions. In a Twitter message he said, 2 yrs ago,@SecPompeo and his boss declared "CEASING US participation" in JCPOA, dreaming that their "max pressure" would bring Iran to its knees. Given that policy's abject failure, he now wants to be JCPOA participant. 

Stop dreaming: Iranian Nation always decides its destiny."
France called on Iran to end activities relating to ballistic missile development, saying in a statement that the program is "a major concern for regional and international security. It contributes to the destabilization of the region and the rise in tensions."

If seen as Iran violating the U.N. resolution, the Security Council could reinstate international sanctions. Germany similarly cited a destabilizing effect on the Middle East, although Russia came to Iran's defense.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the United States had previously violated the resolution, and maintained that Iran is not developing ballistic missiles.

"For years, Iran has claimed its space program is purely peaceful and civilian. The Trump Administration has never believed this fiction," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday. "This week's launch of a military satellite by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a designated foreign terrorist organization, makes clear what we have said all along: Iran's space program is neither peaceful nor entirely civilian."

Pompeo added that the "satellite launch vehicle and others launched before it incorporate technologies identical to, and interchangeable with, ballistic missiles, including longer-range systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles. No country has ever pursued an ICBM capability except for the purpose of delivering nuclear weapons."

The international concern largely involves the missile and not the Nour-1 satellite, which Raymond pointed out on Twitter.

He referred to the satellite as a 3U cubesat, defined as a miniaturized satellite for space research, weighing about nine pounds. Over 1,100 such satellites, from various countries, are currently in earth orbit.