France has joined the United Kingdom in condemning Iran’s recent launch of a military satellite into space, amid concerns that Tehran’s space technology could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
The Islamic Republic proudly announced on September 27 it had used the Qased space launch vehicle to put the Noor-3 imaging satellite in an orbit 450 kilometers above the Earth.
In a statement on October 5, the French Foreign Ministry said the launch “does not comply with a UN Security Council resolution” and called on the Islamic Republic to “end its destabilizing ballistic activities.”
“Due to the great similarity between technology used for space launches and ballistic launches, this launch directly contributes to the already worrying progress Iran has made on its ballistic missile programme,” it added.
Earlier, the UK Foreign Office said that Iran’s latest satellite launch highlights “the grave threat posed by the regime to global security.”
Labeling the UK statement as "interventionist,"Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani defended Iran's scientific and research progress, particularly in the aerospace field, asserting that it was a legitimate right of the Islamic Republic.
The three-stage Qased rocket fueled by both liquid and solid fuels was first launched by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2020 when it unveiled its up-to-then-secret space program.
Western countries say that Iran’s satellite launches defy UN Security Council Resolution 2231. They claim that the same ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also allow Tehran to launch longer-range weapons, possibly including nuclear warheads.
The Islamic Republic denies that such activity is a cover for ballistic missile development and claims that it does not pursue the development of nuclear weapons.
“This activity follows a series of breaches and repeated violations of Resolution 2231, against a background of nuclear escalation for several years, as reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” the French statement said. “It once again emphasizes how much Iran’s ballistic programme remains a source of concern for the international community.”
“In conjunction with its partners, France remains fully mobilized to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” the statement reads.