(New York, N.Y.) — Last week, Iranian officials announced that Tehran had launched a rocket known as the Simorgh satellite launch vehicle (SLV) approximately 290 miles into space. U.S. intelligence stated that a large portion of the parts used in the rocket could be reused for long-range ballistic missiles as part of the ballistic program run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. World powers have previously declared that such launches using the SLV violated the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. On Friday, Iran is scheduled to hold a missile capabilities event to coincide with a week of commemorations of the death of former IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.
Iran has invested heavily in its missile and space programs and is making every effort to improve efficiencies and operations. Its active development of space launch capabilities is directly connected to its development of long-range ballistic missiles. According to the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. intelligence community, “Iran’s work on a space launch vehicle (SLV)—including on its Simorgh—shortens the timeline to an ICBM because SLVs and ICBMs use similar technologies.”
At least 30 ballistic missiles have been launched by the Iranian regime since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was agreed upon in July 2015. Tehran’s ballistic missile program is now more advanced and poses a serious threat to the U.S., its allies, and its strategic interests in the Middle East. Further, under the JCPOA, U.N. sanctions on Iran’s ballistic-missile program are set to expire in 2023.
Space has emerged as a priority for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, as under his administration, Iran’s Supreme Council of Space met for the first time in 11 years. This demonstrates the priority his presidency attaches to these space advancements.
To read United Against Nuclear Iran’s (UANI) resource, Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program, please click here.