Iran: US military fly B-52 bomber over Middle East
The Zolijanah SLV rocket can reach a height of 310 miles and carry a payload of 485 pounds, according to reports. The launch was aired on Iranian state television on Monday and comes as the country prepares to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution later this month. Ahmad Hosseini, spokesperson for Iran’s Defence Ministry, said that the rocket is capable of launching a single 450-pound satellite or up to 10 smaller ones.
He added that the test helped Iran achieve its “most powerful” rocket engine and that the rocket can be launched using a mobile launching pad.
Iran insists that its satellite programme is aimed at scientific research and other civilian applications.
However, the solid-propellant space launcher raises serious concerns about the long-term sustainability of Iran’s commitment to limit the range of its ballistic missiles to less than 2,000 km, according to the arms-control analyst Fabian Hinz.
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This latest development comes as the new White House administration of Joe Biden seeks to push ahead with its plans to resuscitate the 2015 nuclear deal signed with Iran.
Under the terms of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA), the Islamic Republic agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for the easing of economic sanctions.
However, Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the agreement in 2018 and reimposed punitive sanctions on Iran.
Thereafter, Tehran gradually began to violate the terms of the treaty, before refusing to comply with any of its protocols after the assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani in January 2020.
In a Monday interview with NBC news, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that US President Joe Biden will return to the Iran nuclear deal as long as Tehran returns to compliance.
He also warned that Iran was just months away from developing its first nuclear bomb.
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Mr Blinken added that the US President wanted to negotiate a bolder and more ambitious deal with Tehran to replace the old one.
Last week, the Iranian Foreign Minister categorically ruled out slowing down its nuclear programme until sanctions were eased.
Javad Zarif told reporters: “If the United States fulfils its obligations, we will fulfil our obligations in full.”
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