US official: Iran's space launch failed

Says rocket in no way reached its intended position; calls Teheran's space program nascent at best.

iRANIAN saifr rocket 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
iRANIAN saifr rocket 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's attempt to launch a dummy satellite into orbit earlier this week was a "dramatic failure" that fell far short of the country's assertions of success, Reuters quoted a US official as saying on Tuesday. "The attempted launch failed," the official said. "The vehicle failed shortly after liftoff and in no way reached its intended position. It could be characterized as a dramatic failure." On Sunday, Iran said it had put a dummy satellite into orbit on a home-grown rocket for the first time, using a technology that could also be used for launching weapons. Despite stonewalling and frustrating efforts by the IAEA and Western powers to discern the nature of Iran's nuclear program, the Islamic Republic asserts that it has no plans to militarize its nuclear project and insists that it seeks nuclear technology to generate electricity. "The failed launch shows that the purported Iranian space program is in its nascent stages at best - they have a long way to go," the US official said. On Monday, Israeli analysts said the Iranian self-professed progress was no reason for immediate panic but was still a matter of concern - for Europe more than for Israel. The main achievement of the Iranians was the development of a multi-stage missile, which uses several stages of burning fuel to increase its range. Israel, analysts said, has already been under threat of Iranian long-range ballistic missiles since the development of the Shihab 3 missile. Therefore, the Iranian report did not signify an increase in the threat to Israel, the analysts asserted, stressing that European countries were now directly threatened by the Iranian missiles' reach.