Iran claimed Sunday that it successfully launched three satellites into orbit, a continuation of a controversial program that Western powers warn will only bolter the rogue state’s ballistic missile program.
The Islamic Republic’s Simorgh rocket was apparently successful after experiencing several catastrophic failures with previous attempts. Five successive launches did not reach orbit.
Last week’s success came against the backdrop of Israel’s retaliation against Hamas terrorists for the Oct. 7 attack on the small nation. Iran is not directly involved in the conflict, but its proxy forces are heavily engaged in several Middle Eastern conflicts.
Chief among those are the continuing Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the region’s waterways. This drew the U.S. into direct action to protect the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden areas, risking further escalation.
The state-run IRNA news agency released footage of nighttime launches of the Simorgh rocket. The Associated Press reported the site was the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in the rural Semnan province.
Iran says it has simultaneously launched three satellites into space orbit, a week after the launch of a research satellite by the Revolutionary Guards drew criticism from the West.
One satellite weighing 32 kg (70 pounds) and two nano-satellites of less than 10 kg each were… pic.twitter.com/Gj7c3mXKYV
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) January 28, 2024
Iranian officials claimed one spacecraft was a research satellite while the other two were nanosatellites for GPS and communications.
While European powers such as Britain, Germany and France expressed their alarm on Friday, Tehran brushed their concerns aside.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani posted on X, formerly Twitter, that “such interventionist statements will not make a dent in Iran’s determination to advance in science and technology.”
Kanaani claimed that the development of “peaceful technologies” is the nation’s right.
His statement came on the heels of last week’s placement of the Soraya satellite in a 470-mile orbit around Earth. This is the highest achieved by the civilian Iranian Space Agency.
At the same time, Iran steadfastly rejected European and U.S. criticism that the terror-sponsoring nation is building its space program as a cover for developing greater ballistic missile capabilities. The regime also denied pursuing the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
The U.S. warned earlier that the pending launches would defy a U.N. Security Council resolution against developing technology capable of delivering nuclear warheads.
Last year, American intelligence officials concluded producing such satellites “shortens the timeline” for Tehran to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles.