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January 3, 2019 9:38 am

US Warns Iran Against Planned Space Launches, Calls for Halt of Ballistic Missile Activities

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A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Sept. 27, 2017. Photo: Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi / TIMA via Reuters.

The Trump administration warned Iran on Thursday to freeze its ballistic missile program, following the Tehran regime’s recent announcement of three planned space launches in the coming months.

“The United States will not stand by and watch the Iranian regime’s destructive policies place international stability and security at risk,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “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.”

According to Pompeo, Iran would be violating UN Security Council Resolution 2231 — which calls upon Tehran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” — if it went ahead with its declared intention of sending three Space Launch Vehicles (SLVs) into Earth orbit.

The SLVs, Pompeo noted, “incorporate technology that is virtually identical to that used in ballistic missiles, including in intercontinental ballistic missiles.”

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The secretary of state charged that Iran had “launched ballistic missiles numerous times since UNSCR 2231 was adopted and continues to do so.”

“The United States has continuously cautioned that ballistic missile and SLV launches by the Iranian regime have a destabilizing effect on the region and beyond,” he added. “France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and many nations from around the world have also expressed deep concern.”

Castigating the Tehran regime as the world’s “foremost state sponsor of terror,” Pompeo accused it of exporting “missiles and related technology to its proxies around the Middle East, further flouting UNSCR 2231.”

Later on Thursday, in response to Pompeo’s remarks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  tweeted, “Iran’s launch of space vehicles — & missile tests — are NOT in violation of Res 2231. The US is in material breach of same, & as such it is in no position to lecture anyone on it.”

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