US imposes sanctions on Iran space agencies


WASHINGTON: The United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s three space agencies on Tuesday, the Treasury Department said, as Washington ramps up pressure over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The US Treasury targeted the Iran Space Agency, Iran Space Research Center, and the Astronautics Research Institute, according to a statement on its website.

The US has warned Iran against rocket launches, fearing the technology used to put satellites in orbit could help it develop the ballistic missile capability needed to launch nuclear warheads, though Tehran denies its activity is a cover for such development.

On Friday, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter a photo of what appeared to be the site of a failed Iranian satellite launch, raising questions about whether he had disclosed US surveillance secrets.

Trump wrote: “The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran.

“I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One,” he had added.

Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, saying it did not go far enough.