Defense minister says launch proves military ability; expert: It puts Europe in range of Iranian nukes.
By YAAKOV KATZ, 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."
var cont = `Stay Informed
As the war against Hamas unfolds, our unwavering newsroom remains committed to covering Israel's most profound crisis.
Sign up for our newsletter to get real-time news and in-depth analysis from our top reporters.