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Pompeo vows to hold Iran 'accountable' over satellite launch

Pompeo vows to hold Iran 'accountable' over satellite launch

An Iranian military satellite - dubbed the Nour - was launched from the Qassed two-stage launcher in the Markazi desert. (IRAN PRESS/AFP)

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday (Apr 22) accused Iran of violating a UN Security Council resolution through a satellite launch and vowed repercussions.

"I think Iran needs to be held accountable for what they've done," Pompeo told reporters.

Iran announced on Wednesday that it had put its first military satellite in orbit after repeated tries and despite intense economic and military pressure from President Donald Trump's administration.

READ: Iran says military satellite launched amid US tensions

The Trump administration has long argued that Iran's satellite activities were a cover for ballistic missile work.

"The Iranians have consistently said that these missile programmes were disconnected from the military, that these were purely commercial enterprises," Pompeo said.

"I think today's launch proves what we've been saying all along here in the United States," he said.

"I think every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent with that Security Council resolution. I don't think it remotely was."

He was referring to Security Council resolution 2231 of 2015 which called on Iran not to pursue any activities to develop ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear warheads.

The resolution's primary purpose was to give the international community's blessing to an agreement negotiated by then US president Barack Obama's administration under which Iran drastically scaled back nuclear work.

Trump pulled out of the accord and instead imposed sweeping sanctions. In January, Trump ordered a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general and he threatened Thursday to destroy Iranian gunboats if they harass US ships in the Gulf.

READ: Trump instructs US Navy to destroy Iranian gunboats 'if they harass our ships at sea'

Source: AFP/de

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