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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 March 2019

Iran confirms second satellite launch failure and suspects US

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran is looking into possible sabotage

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran suspects US sabotage in its failed satellite launches. AP Photo
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran suspects US sabotage in its failed satellite launches. AP Photo

Iran has confirmed the failure of another attempted satellite launch and suggested sabotage by the United States was to blame.

Iran suffered two failed attempts to launch satellites over the past two months, Foreign Minister Mohammad told NBC News in an interview on Friday in Munich, where an annual global security conference was being held.

Mr Zarif said there might be a US sabotage campaign against Iranian satellite launches. "It's quite possible. We don't know yet," he said. "We need to look into it very carefully."

The US accuses Iran of using its space programme to develop ballistic missiles, a charge Tehran denies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in January that the satellite launches showed Iran's defiance of a UN Security Council resolution that calls on it to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Mr Zarif gave no details of the latest launch attempt but Iranian officials had said the satellite sent up in January failed to reach the necessary speed in the third stage of its launch. The telecommunications ministry said the satellite, named Payam, was to be used for imaging and communications for about three years.

Iran views its space programme as a matter of national pride. It launched its first domestically-built satellite in 2009, on the 30th anniversary of the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution. This month, Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the revolution.

Updated: February 16, 2019 04:37 PM

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