US imposes sanctions on Iran space programme

The US on Tuesday (September 3rd) imposed sanctions on Iran's space programme, saying that a recent explosion on a launch pad was a sign of missile work, AFP reported.

"The US will not allow Iran to use its space launch programme as cover to advance its ballistic missile programmes," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

"Iran's August 29th attempt to launch a space launch vehicle underscores the urgency of the threat," he said.

Pompeo said the US was imposing sanctions on the Iran Space Agency as well as two affiliated research centres.

Under the orders, all US citizens or residents would be held criminally responsible for interacting with Iran's space programme.

"These designations should serve as a warning to the international scientific community that collaborating with Iran's space programme could contribute to Tehran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon delivery system," he said.

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei on Monday confirmed an explosion at a satellite launch pad in the north of the country and blamed a technical fault.

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