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US to EU: Sanction Iran for Missile Development

FILE - In this image taken from video, an Iranian rocket carrying a satellite is launched from an undisclosed site, believed to be in Iran's Semnan province, April 22, 2020.

The United States has called on the European Union to place sanctions on individuals and entities working on Iran's missile programs after Tehran said it successfully launched a military satellite.

Washington also called on all countries to extend the U.N. conventional-arms embargo on Iran, saying the launch was proof the country's space program was "neither peaceful nor entirely civilian."

"This satellite launch vehicle and others launched before it incorporate technologies identical to, and interchangeable with, ballistic missiles, including longer-range systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). No country has ever pursued an ICBM capability except for the purpose of delivering nuclear weapons," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Saturday.

After months of failed attempts, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps announced Wednesday that it had launched a military satellite into orbit. The IRGC said on its official website that the satellite had reached an orbit of 425 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

Washington criticized Iran for spending its limited financial resources on a launch when the country is struggling to fight the spread of the coronavirus, which has hurt its already devastated economy.

The United States has imposed punishing sanctions on Iran that have been compounded recently by the sharp fall in the price of oil, one of Iran's main exports.

"When the Iranian people are suffering and dying from the coronavirus pandemic, it is regrettable to see the regime waste its resources and efforts on provocative military pursuits that do nothing to help the Iranian people," Pompeo said.

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