Iran's Space Launch Tech 'Virtually Identical and Interchangeable' with Ballistic Missiles, State Dept. Warns

a Dezful surface-to-surface ballistic missile in Iran

WASHINGTON -- The State Department ripped Iran's second reported attempted space launch in less than a month as activity that "furthers Iran’s ability to eventually build ... a weapon that threatens our allies."

"Space launch vehicles use technologies that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including in Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)," spokesman Robert Palladino said today.

Satellite imagery captured personnel, launch vehicles, and a two-stage Safir rocket around the pad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran on Tuesday. The next day, imaging company DigitalGlobe saw scorch markups and cleanup on the launch site.

Iranian officials announced that their Doosti satellite was ready for launch Monday, but experts suggest that the craft was not airborne for long after the launch.

Palladino noted that "in defiance of the international community, the Iranian regime continues to develop and test ballistic missiles."

"The Iranian regime has continued to exploit the goodwill of nations and defied multiple Security Council resolutions in its quest for a robust ballistic missile force," he said. "The Iranian regime continues to increase its investment in missile testing and missile proliferation even as its economy crumbles and its people suffer. Today Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East. Iran has also exported ballistic missile systems to malign actors in the region, threatening innocent civilians."

The State Department official added that Iran "continues to defy UNSCR 2231 brazenly, working to enhance missile capabilities that threaten our allies."

"Iran’s blatant disregard for international norms must be addressed. We must bring back tougher international restrictions to deter Iran’s missile program," Palladino said. "The United States will continue to be relentless in building support around the world to confront the Iranian regime’s reckless ballistic missile activity, and we will continue to impose sufficient pressure on the regime so that it changes its malign behavior -- including by fully implementing all of our sanctions."