Photo Credit: Courtesy IRNA
Iran's Pishgam (Pioneer) Rocket

On Tuesday, the State Department designated the Iran Space Agency and two of its research institutes under Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and WMD delivery systems and their supporters.

This is the first time the United States is publicly designating Iran’s civilian space agency.


Space launch vehicle (SLV) technologies, such as those developed by Iran’s space program, are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles. Iran’s civilian space launch vehicle program allows it to gain experience with various technologies necessary for development of an ICBM – including staging, ignition of upper-stage engines, and control of a multiple-stage missile throughout flight.

Iran continues to use its space organizations to engage in activities in defiance of UNSCR 2231. Further, the UN Secretariat continues to document Iran’s attempts to procure prohibited items for its missile program in violation of UNSCR 2231.

“Our actions today show the flaws in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), why the United States was right to cease participation in it, and the importance of achieving a deal that prevents Iran from developing ballistic missile capabilities that could contribute to a nuclear weapon delivery system. This is why Secretary Pompeo has called for a new comprehensive deal that addresses all elements of Iran’s malign behavior,” the State Dept said in a press release.

“Further, Iran’s accelerating pace of missile activity demonstrates the pressing need to return to the ballistic missile prohibitions contained in UNSCR 1929, which includes the legally-binding provision that Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. We have been clear with our fellow Security Council members about the importance of holding Iran accountable for its defiance of resolutions related to the development and proliferation of ballistic missiles – which includes returning to the standard in UNSCR 1929.

“Today’s designations continue U.S. efforts to exert maximum pressure on the Iranian regime to address the threat it poses to international peace and security. In addition to the blocking of any U.S. assets non-U.S. persons may be exposed to sanctions for providing material support to these entities. This action should serve as a warning to the international scientific community that collaborating with Iran on space launch vehicles could contribute to its ballistic missile program.”