Reacting to Iran’s 9 February attempt to launch a satellite, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that “the technologies used to launch satellites into orbit are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in longer range systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles. Each launch, whether failed or not, further allows Iran to gain experience using such technologies that could benefit its missile programs under the guise of a peaceful space program”. Asserting that “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism should not be allowed to develop and test ballistic missiles”, Pompeo indicated that “the U.S. will continue to build support around the world to confront the Iranian regime’s reckless ballistic missile activity, and we will continue to impose enormous pressure on the regime to change its behaviour”. Iran’s Defence Minister subsequently remarked that “the issue of satellite launch… is not related to missile subject”. He also asserted that “what is forbidden is the manufacture and launch of missiles with the capability of carrying nuclear warheads that do not exist in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, and stated: “Iran does not need any other kinds of missile as these missiles [that it has] are with high accuracy and the Americans have also seen the precision of our missile on U.S. military base Ain al-Assad in Iraq”.
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