U.S. Officials: Iranian Satellite Launch Suffered “Catastrophic Failure”

Iran’s launch of a rocket carrying a satellite into space on Thursday, in apparent violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution, suffered a “catastrophic failure” shortly after takeoff, United States officials told Fox News on Friday.

The two officials said that the Simorgh rocket likely exploded before it reached orbit. The U.S. Strategic Command, which monitors launches worldwide, confirmed that no satellite was deployed from the rocket.

Though Iran boasted that the launch was successful, U.S. intelligence agencies “quickly determined that assessment was more propaganda than fact,” according to Fox.

The launch was the first from the newly dedicated Imam Khomeini Space Center. Iran has yet to successfully launch a satellite into orbit.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday that the administration considered the launch—successful or not—to be a violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231, which implemented the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. While the language in the resolution “call upon” Iran not to develop ballistic missiles, “we would consider that a violation of UNSCR 2231,” Nauert said. “We consider that to be continued ballistic missile development,” she added.

In an analysis written last year, arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis explained that the technology employed by Iran’s Simorgh rocket appears to be the same used in North Korea’s Unha SLV series, which the U.S. intelligence community has concluded “could be used for an ICBM-class vehicle” capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the U.S.

The bipartisan Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which targets Iran’s non-nuclear aggression, passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 18 to 3 in May. The bill seeks to impose sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program, its support for terror, and its human rights violations.

[Photo: Tasnim News ]