Washington / New York 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.
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.
Moscow's UN Ambassador: Plenary meeting is chance for Iran conflict
Russia's UN ambassador to the upcoming UN General Assembly sees the opportunity for rapprochement between the conflicting parties in the Iran conflict. The presence of US President Donald Trump, his Iranian colleague Hassan Ruhani and other leaders "gives us a chance to make certain things happen," Vasily Nebensja said Tuesday in New York.
In recent days, despite tensions and contradictory statements, there have been positive signals "that something in the Iran case will happen in the near future," the ambassador continued. Russia faces the UN Security Council in September.
Previously, Ruhani had barred bilateral talks with Trump, although he had pleaded for more diplomacy last week. Tehran observers believe a meeting of the two presidents on the margins of the plenary in the second half of September is possible.
They also assume that Ruhanis will meet with the heads of state and government of the contracting parties in the 2015 Vienna Atomic Energy Convention. These are Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany. The US was a co-signer, but left in May 2018 from the nuclear contract.
Without a diplomatic breakthrough, it is expected that Iran will begin the third phase of its partial exit from the nuclear deal at the end of the week. According to the news agency Isna, Iran wants to use faster centrifuges to increase the level of uranium enrichment from the 3.67 to 20 percent allowed in the contract. Limiting enrichment was at the heart of the Vienna Treaty to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
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