Rouhani promises space rocket launches in weeks

January 11, 2019 - 20:12

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that domestically-manufactured rockets will carry two new satellites into orbit in the coming weeks.

Rouhani made the remarks during a ceremony held to commemorate the death of former president and chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in Tehran on Thursday.

Rouhani said, “Missiles are our defensive tool and we are proud of it.” He added, “In the coming weeks, we will send two new satellites into space using our domestically-built rockets.”

He also described Iran’s defense power and technology achievements as relics of Ayatollah Rafsanjani.

Last November, Deputy Defense Minister General Qassem Taqizadeh announced that Iran would launch three satellites into space “on various orbits” within a few months.

Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran will continue with its aerospace program despite U.S. warnings, adding there was no international law prohibiting such a program.

Zarif, who was in New Delhi on a bilateral visit, also told Reuters that leaving a 2015 nuclear deal agreed with world powers is an option available with Tehran but is not the only option on the table.

The United States earlier this month issued a pre-emptive warning to Iran against pursuing three planned space rocket launches that it claimed would violate a UN Security Council resolution because they use ballistic missile technology.

Under the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran is “called upon” to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

Iran has ruled out negotiations with Washington over its military capabilities, particularly the missile program. It says the program is purely defensive and denies missiles are capable of being tipped with nuclear warheads.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or regional influence.


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