On April 22, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced it had successfully launched a military satellite into space. The launch, the first claimed by the IRGC, shows the Iranian regime is not interested in space flight for peaceful, civilian purposes.
Countries around the world have long been concerned about Iran’s space program. The technologies used to launch satellites into orbit are virtually identical to those used in intercontinental ballistic missiles. UN Security Council Resolution 2231 calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
At a press briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted the inconsistency of Iran’s missile launch and Resolution 2231:
“Every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent with that Security Council resolution. I don’t think it remotely is, and I think Iran needs to be held accountable for what they’ve done. They’ve now had a military organization that the United States has designated terrorists attempt to launch a satellite.”
Secretary Pompeo also spoke about Iran’s dangerous threats to U.S. ships patrolling the Persian Gulf and President Donald Trump’s directive to the U.S. military to “destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” Secretary Pompeo said that President Trump has made very clear the United States will take whatever action is necessary to protect and defend its military officers and diplomats around the world.
Secretary Pompeo also noted the hypocrisy of the Iranian government in claiming it needs more resources to fight the COVID-19 virus at home, while at the same time, it launches satellites, threatens ships, and funds proxy forces like Hezbollah:
“I hope the Iranian regime will respond to the Iranian people’s demands to prioritize resources -- resources that the Iranian regime clearly has -- to the health and security and safety of the Iranian people, rather than continuing their global terror campaign.”
Secretary Pompeo reiterated the U.S. offer of humanitarian aid to the people of Iran, which government leaders have rejected. “We’ve assisted other countries in delivering humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people,” he said. “I only wish that the Iranian regime cared about is people as much as the rest of the world has demonstrated that it does.”