iran satellite 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
The international community must increase its economic pressure on Iran in response to the launching of an Iranian satellite, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday.
"The Iranian satellite is a technological achievement for the Iranians and a first step towards proving their military and intelligence capabilities," Barak said. "This is another reason for the international community to tighten and increase sanctions against Iran."
Iran used a multistage rocket in Monday's launch, putting a small and rudimentary communications satellite into space, according to a US counterproliferation official and another government official on Tuesday.
Iran used the Safir, a modified Shahab-3 rocket that normally has a range of under 1,280 kilometers, to launch the satellite.
Iran failed in a multistage Safir launch attempt in August and now has overcome whatever technical problem felled that test.
"Having a multistage rocket is a big step forward in rocket technology," said Jonathan McDowell, a space program analyst at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
"The bigger context is they've done this under a sanctions regime, very much on their own. They proved that it's really not that hard to get a satellite up."
David Albright, a nuclear expert with the Institute for Science and International Security, said the rocket used did not have intercontinental reach and does not appear big enough to hold a nuclear warhead. But it does speak to Iranian intentions.
"It says they are persistent and continue to work away on developing a missile capability," he said. "This should remind us you can't forget about Iran and their nuclear program."