Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Iran satellite launch concerns US

There are increased concerns after Iran yesterday launched a satellite into space. It is an indication as to how far developed its delivery system for a nuclear or chemical weapon has reached. It is a further headache for the new Obama administration which was hoping to reach out to what George W Bush called rogue states. It remains unclear if Iran has indeed developed and constructed nuclear weapons, but many suspect the country is very close to succeeding in its nuclear ambitions. Iran has consistently denied it is seeking such weapons and say they merely want to develop nuclear power technology [BBC].
Last year Barack Obama indicated he would offer incentives if Iran stopped its development of nuclear weapons but said there would be tough sanctions if the leadership persisted in defying international calls for it to halt its operations [Sky News]. Speaking on Meet the Press, Obama said “We are willing to talk to them directly and give them a clear choice and ultimately let them make a determination in terms of whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way”.

Iran has called the satellite launch a “source of pride”, but the US has been ratted by the move. U.S. Department of Defence officials have confirmed the launch, and the State Department expressed "grave concern". State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood told reporters, "Developing a space launch vehicle that could ... put a satellite into orbit could possibly lead to development of a ballistic missile system, so that's of grave concern to us" [CNN].

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