Iran’s Space Launch: ICBM or Space Program Development?

January 22, 2019
David Schmerler

The following is an excerpt from Foreign Policy Research Institute

On January 3, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Iran was preparing to launch multiple Space Launch Vehicles (SLV), which he claimed had “virtually (the) same technology as [intercontinental ballistic missiles] ICBMs,” before issuing a threat, “We won’t stand by while the regime threatens international security.” Almost a week prior to that announcement, our team at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies was alerted to the same event by open-source researcher Fabian Hinz, who was seeing an uptick in prelaunch indicators leading up to the January 14 launch.


The initial pre-launch signatures, followed by a string of video releases by Iranian media displaying the Payam satellite running through its final inspections prior to moving to the [Imama Khomeini Space Launch Center], made this attempt much more transparent compared to previous ones. Just two days prior to the launch itself, we were able to catch two images, on the same day, of the large trailer associated with space launch activity, moving from the checkout location to the larger launch pad for prelaunch activity and inspections.


Secretary Pompeo’s comment on Iran’s SLV having “virtually (the) same technology as ICBMs” is interesting because it is neither entirely true, nor entirely false.

Continue reading at the Foreign Policy Research Institute

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