France on Monday condemned a bid by Iran to put a satellite in space, urging Tehran to abide by international obligations on its controversial ballistic missile programme.
A day after Iran announced it “successfully” launched a satellite, but failed to put it into orbit, the foreign ministry said in a statement, “France condemns this launch which calls on technologies used for ballistic missiles and, in particular, intercontinental ballistic missiles”.
The ministry further added, “Iran’s ballistic programme hurts regional stability and affects European security. France calls on Iran to fully respect its international obligations in this matter.”
Washington has long raised concerns in the past about Tehran’s satellite programme, saying the launch of a carrier rocket in January 2019 amounted to a violation of limits on its ballistic missiles.
US President Donald Trump has justified his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord by the need to reach a more comprehensive agreement that also covers the Iranian ballistic programme.
The rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said.
Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space.
Iran usually displays space achievements in February during the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the revolution amid Iran facing increasing pressure from the U.S. under the administration of President Donald Trump.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly slammed Iran over the launch, accusing Tehran of lying and alleging that the “innocent satellite” was actually “the first stage of an intercontinental missile” Iran is developing in violation of international agreements.