EXCLUSIVE: Iran has launched a space satellite using technology that could “contribute to” the development of a ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons, according to a United Nations-appointed panel of experts monitoring the issue.
Tehran intends to launch more such satellites, the panel said.
The most recent launch came last February 15, the experts noted, adding that the Iranian government has already announced plans to conduct three additional satellite launches before March 2016.
The vehicle used in the February launch—from a military base in northern Iran– was based on a “space launch vehicle” that is variant of Iran’s Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which has a range of about 1,000 miles. The Shahab-3 is one of two Iranian missiles that the experts say “are believed to be potentially capable of delivery of nuclear weapons.”
The experts noted that the future satellites will be boosted aloft “from more powerful launchers and on the back of bigger carriers.”
Iran’s missile development—peaceful or not– is one of the murkier and more contentious issues surrounding the ongoing negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the world’s major powers—precisely because ballistic missiles have been shunted to the side of a potential deal centered on nuclear enrichment activities that the Obama Administration is pushing hard to conclude by June 30.
Last year, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called any Western expectations that Iran would restrain its missile development program “stupid and idiotic,” and called for the country to mass produce such weapons.
Full article: Iran satellite launches tied to ballistic missile program, UN experts say (FOX News)