Second failed launch this year despite warnings from US, EU; Netanyahu: The best way to deal with [Iran] is to deal with it here, to defeat these forces here. And Israel is doing more than its fair share in that regard.
Iran attempted to launch a satellite into space for the second time this year.
Satellite imagery from several sources, including DigitalGlobe and Planet, showed a rocket at the Imam Khomeini Space Center followed by scorched earth from the launch. So far, Iran has not confirmed or denied reports of the recent launch.
Last month, the Islamic Republic failed to launch its “Payam” (Persian for “message”) satellite into orbit after the rocket carrying the satellite failed to reach the necessary speed. Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, confirmed the launch’s failure. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami then announced Iran’s scheduled launch of its second “non-military” satellite into space, stating last month, “one has been launched and the other one will soon be sent into orbit,” in reference to the failed launch.
Iran previously launched a rocket into space in 2017, the action condemned by the United States and some European states.
Satellite imagery taken from the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran over the past year shows its progress in its missile and space programs. Iran’s efforts and developments of its Space Launch Vehicles is in violation of international law, mainly UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, nuclear deal). Under the resolution, Iran is forbidden to produce, create or launch ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Over the weekend, Iran successfully tested its latest long-range cruise missile. The Hoveizeh cruise missile can reach up to 1,350 kilometers and was tested during celebrations marking the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran’s Defense Minister confirmed the missile test’s success, stating to the press over the weekend, “The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200 kilometers and accurately hit the set target.” He threatened, “It can be ready in the shortest possible time and flies at a very low altitude…”
On May 8, 2018, the Trump Administration withdrew from the JCPOA with world powers. It placed its first round of stringent sanctions on the Islamic Republic in August. The sanctions include restrictions on purchasing US dollars, trade on gold and precious metals and the sale and trade of graphite and metals. The second round of sanctions were placed in November, targeting Iran’s exports and oil industries and financial sector.
Last week, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reported the country’s greatest economic crisis in over 40 years. Speaking at a ceremony honoring 40 years since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Rouhani denounced the United States’ sanctions and shifted the blame, claiming, “Today the country is facing the biggest pressure and economic sanctions in the past 40 years… our problems are primarily due to pressure from America and its followers.”
The European Union this week not only condemned Iran’s presence in Syria, but also warned the Islamic Republic on its missile program. On Iran’s ballistic missile program it stated, “Iran continues to undertake efforts to increase the range and precision of its missiles, together with increasing the number of tests and operational launches. These activities deepen mistrust and contribute to regional instability.” On Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, it expressed “concerns regarding Iran’s military involvement and continuous presence of Iranian forces in Syria,” as well as “military, financial and political support” of its proxies in the region, mainly Hezbollah.
During a meeting with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu continued with his efforts to expose Iran to world leaders. Speaking of the “great forces of militant Islam: The militant Sunnis led by Daesh and militant Shiites led by Iran and its proxies,” Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s right to defense against Iran. He stated, “Israel is the great fortress, here at the edge of Asia, at the edge of the Mediterranean, that is preventing the forces of militant Islam from sweeping the region and sending millions and millions and millions of people into homeless wandering throughout the continents, especially the continent of Europe. The best way to deal with this is to deal with it here, to defeat these forces here. And Israel is doing more than its fair share in that regard.”