Rouhani says Iran will send satellites into orbit soon
Iran will put two satellites into orbit in coming weeks using domestically made missiles, President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday, a week after Washington warned it not to pursue three planned space rocket launches.
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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Tehran against pursuing launches that he said would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution because they use ballistic missile technology.
The United States is concerned that the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit can also be used to launch warheads.
Iran, which considers its space programme a matter of national pride, has said its space vehicle launches and missile tests were not violations and would continue.
"In the coming weeks, we will put two satellites into space using our Iran-made missiles," Rouhani said, Iranian state TV reported. He gave no further details about the satellites.
Pompeo had said Iran planned to launch in the coming months three rockets, called Space Launch Vehicles (SLV), that he said incorporate technology "virtually identical" to that used in intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Under the U.N. Security Council Resolution that enshrined Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers - which Washington pulled out of last spring - the country is "called upon" to refrain from work for up to eight years on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since the U.S. pullout in May, followed by President Donald Trump reimposing sanctions that were lifted under the multinational agreement in 2016.
Iran launched its first domestically-built satellite, the OMID (Hope) research and telecoms satellite, in 2009 on the 30th anniversary of the country's 1979 Islamic revolution in 2009. The 40th anniversary falls in February.