WASHINGTON, Feb 15 – Iran bid to launch a second satellite in the past two months has failed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with NBC News published on Friday.
Its effort to launch a satellite last month also failed. Despite both failures, Zarif’s confirmation is likely to raise tensions with the United States, which is concerned the long-range ballistic technology used to send satellites into space could also be used to launch warheads.
A representative for the U.S. National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Iran views its space program as a matter of national pride. Tehran has denied that the space vehicle launches and missile tests violated a U.N. Security Council resolution.
Last month, Iran said a satellite it tried to launch did not reach adequate speed and failed. Iran‘s telecommunications ministry said at the time that the satellite, named Payam, was intended to be used for imaging and communications purposes for about three years.
Iran launched its first domestically-built satellite in 2009, on the country’s 30th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. This month, Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Iran‘s Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment on the NBC News report which was widely quoted by Iranian news outlets, including the state news agency IRNA.
(Reporting by Makini Brice and Dubai Newsroom Editing by Susan Thomas)