Iranian clerics watch the firing of a Shahab-3 missile during a war game in a desert near the city of Qom.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The launch of a space satellite by Iran's military may indicate the Islamic Republic's possession of ballistic missile technology, a United Nations panels of experts claimed.
According to Fox News, the panel, which on June 1 issued its findings on the February 15 launch, claimed that while Tehran official's “have not been reporting any new ballistic missile developments” or “unveiling or testing of new types of ballistic missiles,” the Islamic Republic intends to deploy three more satellites by March 16 which it hopes to propel “from more powerful launchers and on the back of bigger carriers.”
The technology platform used for these experiments is based on a variant of the Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which has a range of 1,000 miles and is considered one of two Iranian missiles that may potentially be able to deliver a nuclear payload.
Despite the findings of the panel, the issue of ballistic missile technology has been absent from the tenuous multilateral talks between Iran and the P5+1 nations.
The Obama administration did not include any stipulations regarding the powerful delivery system in last November's interim deal and since then has unfrozen billions of dollars of Iranian assets.
While the most recent experiment was only a partial success outwardly, its gains may suggest the possibility of a functional ballistic system. The satellite, bearing 110 lbs. [49 kg] freight meant for "image collecting" was meant to remain in orbit for 18 months, but plummeted after only 23 days.
Despite their apparent aerospace purpose, these experiments are in contradiction to United Nations sanctions resolutions.
As part of its sanctions regime pertaining to Iran, the UN forbids Iran from any activities “related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”
In comments from 2014, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, denounced any such expectations, calling them “stupid and idiotic," while urging his country to invest more in its missile development program.