US impose sanctions on Iran’s space program

The US accuses the Islamic Republic of developing in the civil missile program techniques that could serve military purposes.

The US government has sanctioned Iran’s space program. Tehran is using the civilian facility and two related research centers to advance its military missile program, the State Department said Tuesday in Washington. Some technologies developed by the space program are “virtually identical” to those needed for ballistic missiles. In addition, the space program will allow Iran to gain experience with technologies needed for ICBMs, it said.

The sanctions relate to the Iranian Space Agency (ISA), the Iranian Space Research Center (ISRC) and the associated Institute of Astronautics (ARI). Registration in the US Sanctions Registry blocks potential assets of US facilities. In addition, people who support the facilities could in future be sanctioned. “This measure should serve as a warning to the international scientific community that cooperation with Iran on launchers could help the ballistic missile program,” said the ministry.

Iran’s missile program had come into focus last week after reports of a rocket explosion during a satellite launch. Iran denied the incident first, later the explosion was downplayed. US President Donald Trump posted a photo on Twitter Friday that apparently showed the launch pad after the explosion. With the strikingly sharp picture he might have done a secret to intelligence agencies in Iran and elsewhere , it was confirmed for those yet, which reach immense resolution US satellites.

The US withdrew from Iran’s international nuclear deal last year, and since then has reinstated sharp economic sanctions on Tehran, including a ban on oil exports. The US government is also using targeted sanctions to undermine Iran’s nuclear and weapons program.