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Iran Launches Rocket

The recent launch of a rocket by Iran has increased concerns about Tehran's efforts to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Russian news agencies quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov as saying that the rocket launch “adds to general suspicions of Iran regarding its potential desire to build nuclear weapons. Long-range missiles are one of the components of such weapons. That causes concern.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the rocket launch by Iran “troubling” for the same reasons:

“The kinds of technologies and capabilities that are needed in order to launch a space vehicle for orbit are the same kinds of capabilities and technologies that one would employ for long-range ballistic missiles. And of course, the U-N Security Council and other members of the international system have expressed their deep concern about Iran’s continuing development of medium- and long-range ballistic missiles. The reason for that concern is tied to their continued. . . .search to perfect enrichment of uranium, which can, of course, be used in a nuclear weapon.”

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says that Iran’s decision to launch a space rocket using the same type of technology that would be needed to deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile will “further isolate Iran.”

The United Nations Security Council is considering a draft resolution that would impose a third round of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to comply with U-N demands regarding its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Iran can avoid another sanctions resolution by suspending uranium enrichment and reprocessing and coming clean on its past nuclear activities, in accordance with its international nuclear obligations. In return, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. – along with Germany, the so-called P5+1, have offered an incentives package that includes assistance to Iran in establishing a civilian, peaceful nuclear energy program, and a guaranteed nuclear fuel supply. So far, Iran has passed up the P5+1 offer.