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  •  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference after a meeting with Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 20, 2018.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference after a meeting with Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 20, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 January 2019

"We have achieved great success in building satellites and launching them. That means we are on the right track," Iranian President Rouhani said.

Iran will be ready for a new satellite launch in a few months' time after a failed attempt this week, President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, ignoring U.S. and European warnings to avoid such activity.

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Iran's bid to send a satellite into orbit failed Tuesday as the space vehicle Payam did not reach adequate speed in the third stage of the launch.

"We have achieved great success in building satellites and launching them. That means we are on the right track," Rouhani was quoted as saying by state media. "The remaining problems are minor, will be resolved in a few months, and we will soon be ready for a new launch."

The United States warned Iran this month against undertaking three planned rocket launches that it said would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution because they use ballistic missile technology.

France's foreign ministry Wednesday condemned the abortive launch and urged Iran to cease ballistic missile tests, which Paris sees as of potential use for nuclear weapons.

"The Iranian ballistic programme is a source of concern for the international community and France," foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in a statement.

"We call on Iran not to proceed with new ballistic missile tests designed to be able to carry nuclear weapons, including space launchers, and urge Iran to respect its obligations under all U.N. Security Council resolutions," von der Muhll said.

Iran, which considers its space program a matter of national pride, has said its space vehicle launches and missile tests do not flout U.N. resolutions and will continue.

Western powers are concerned that the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads.

Iran has repeatedly denied any intent to develop nuclear weapons and curbed its disputed uranium enrichment program under a 2015 deal with world powers.

But the pact is now at risk after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from it, in part because it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile program, and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran.


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