On Wednesday, Iran said it has been successful in launching its first military satellite into orbit. This has further increased tension between the US and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said the satellite, which is named “Noor” (Light) was orbiting 425km (264 miles) after being launched successfully.
The satellite was launched by a three-stage rocket, Qased which the IRGC said worked on a combination of solid and liquid fuels.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that he has ordered the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats” that harm US ships.
This came as a result of an incident in which about a dozen small Iranian boats had driven within few yards of US warships.
The Pentagon declined to comment on whether the launch has been successful and the satellite is in the orbit. It said it would take time to make such a judgment.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, condemned the launch, saying it has violated the UN security council resolution 2015.
The 2015 UN resolution was intended to uphold a nuclear deal with Iran that the US abrogated in 2018. The resolution said: “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
The US military says that this same ballistic technology that allows Tehran to launch a satellite into orbits will also allow it to launch long-range weapons, including nuclear warheads. However, Tehran denies such assertions, saying it has never strived for the development of nuclear weapons.
US Air Force General, John Hyten told a Pentagon news briefing that this satellite launching shows that Iran has the ability to threaten its neighbors and that they want to make sure it can never threaten the US.