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Iran shows missile, launches satellite which fails to reach orbit

In the space of a few hours on Sunday, Iran unveiled a new ballistic missile and launched a domestically-built satellite – which failed, however, to reach orbit. The launch of the satellite happened at 7:15pm local time at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province, some 230km (145 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran. State television said,…

Iran shows missile, launches satellite which fails to reach orbit

In the space of a few hours on Sunday, Iran unveiled a new ballistic missile and launched a domestically-built satellite – which failed, however, to reach orbit.
The launch of the satellite happened at 7:15pm local time at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province, some 230km (145 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran. State television said, however, that a Simorgh rocket could not put the Zafar 1 communications satellite into orbit due to a low speed.
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‘Peaceful use of space’: Iran to launch observation satellite

US warns Iran on space launches, Tehran rejects concerns

Iran says it’s launched a satellite that didn’t reach orbit

“Stage-1 and stage-2 motors of the carrier functioned properly and the satellite was successfully detached from its carrier, but at the end of its path it did not reach the required speed for being put in the orbit,” Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for the defence ministry’s space programme, told state TV.
The satellite, which Iran says was to be used for scientific observation, is part of a programme that the United States has previously described as a “provocation”.
Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi admitted in a Twitter post that “failure happened”, adding: “But We’re UNSTOPPABLE! We have more Upcoming Great Iranian Satellites!”
New ballistic missile
Earlier on Sunday, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), in charge of Iran’s missile programme, unveiled a new ballistic missile which it said was powered by a new generation of engines designed to send satellites into orbit.
The announcement came just days before the 41st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, an occasion routinely used by Iran to display technological advances for its armed forces.
State television said the new short-range ballistic missile – dubbed the Raad-500 – can reach up to 500km (310 miles). That is some 200km (124 miles) more than the Fateh-110, a ballistic ground-to-ground missile first unveiled in 2002 that weighs twice as much as the new missile.
The Raad-500 is also equipped with new Zoheir engines made of composite materials lighter than on earlier steel models, according to the IRGC’s Sepah News website.
The Guard also unveiled new missile engines made of the same material but with a “movable nozzle” for the delivery of the satellites into space. The technology increases a missile’s accuracy in hitting targets.
IRGC commander Hossein Salami unveiled the missile and engines alongside the force’s aerospace chief General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, in an unknown location, according to state television.
Salami said the movable nozzle on the new engine allowed “manoeuvrability beyond the atmosphere” and amounted to a “leap in modern missile technology”. The new technologies that made the missiles “cheaper, lighter, faster and more precise” could be applied to all of Iran’s missile classes, he added.

An image grab from footage obtained from the state-run Iran Press news agency shows the Raad-500 missile which is “cheaper, lighter, faster and more precise” than previous models. [Iran Press/AFP]

Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes that have barred it from importing many weapons.
Sunday’s announcement is in line with Iran’s defence policy which shifted in 2009 at a time when Tehran could no longer invest into its air force due to sanctions.
“Because of sanctions, Iranian air force is completely behind regional powers such as Saudi Arabia or Turkey,” said Saeid Golkar, assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Tennessee.
“So the only way it can survive, while still creating deterrence in the region and build up credibility inside the country, is through its missile programme.”

The launch of the Raad-500 missile, which is equipped with new Zoheir engines made of lighter composite material to increase its velocity [AFP]

The US has voiced his concerns in the past about Iran’s ballistic programme, saying the launch of a carrier rocket in January 2019 amounted to a violation of curbs on its development of ballistic missiles.
In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from a landmark nuclear accord with Tehran citing its lack of restriction on Irans’s ballistic programme as one of the reasons for the move.
The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in 2015 between Iran and world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
Since the US withdrawal and the reimposition of crippling sanctions, Iran has responded by progressively rolling back its commitments to the nuclear deal.
Iran maintains it has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons and says its aerospace activities are peaceful and comply with a UN Security Council resolution.
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Iran fires missile at mock US aircraft carrier during exercise |NationalTribune.com

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard fired a missile from a helicopter targeting a replica US aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, state television reported on Tuesday, an exercise aimed at threatening the US amid tensions between Tehran and Washington. The exercises – dubbed “Prophet Muhammad 14th” – were held near the Strait of Hormuz,…

Iran fires missile at mock US aircraft carrier during exercise |NationalTribune.com

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard fired a missile from a helicopter targeting a replica US aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, state television reported on Tuesday, an exercise aimed at threatening the US amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The exercises – dubbed “Prophet Muhammad 14th” – were held near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane for a fifth of global oil output.
Footage of the war games broadcast on state television showed the Guard’s air and naval forces readying for an attack off the country’s southwestern coast.
Speedboats skimmed across the water in formation before ground forces fired cannons and a missile was launched from a helicopter, leaving a trail of smoke before appearing to smash into the side of the fake warship.
The Iranian maritime manoeuvre was staged at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.

The amphibious transport dock ship USS John P Murtha (LPD 26) is seen as it transits the Strait of Hormuz [File: Kyle Carlstrom/US Navy via Reuters]

The US Navy condemned the “irresponsible and reckless behaviour by Iran”, calling it an attempt “to intimidate and coerce”. 
The US Navy 5th Fleet, which is based in the Gulf state of Bahrain, also criticised Iran’s use of the replica aircraft carrier.
“We are aware of the Iranian exercise involving attacking a mock-up of a vessel similar to a motionless aircraft carrier,” its spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said in a statement emailed to the AFP news agency on Tuesday.
“The US Navy conducts defensive exercises with our partners promoting maritime security in support of freedom of navigation; whereas, Iran conducts offensive exercises, attempting to intimidate and coerce.”

An MV-22 Osprey aircraft is seen on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz [File: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters]

While the coronavirus pandemic has engulfed both Iran and the US for months, there have been increasing signs of a confrontation as the US has argued for extend a years-long UN weapons embargo on Tehran that is due to expire in October.
The war games came only days after Tehran accused US fighter jets of harassing an Iranian commercial airliner over Syria.
At least four passengers on board the Mahan Air plane were injured in Thursday’s incident after the pilot took emergency action to avoid the warplanes, Iranian authorities said.
Tensions have escalated between Tehran and Washington since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the landmark Iran nuclear deal in 2018.
The two countries have come to the brink of direct confrontation twice since June 2019, when the Guard shot down a US drone in the Gulf.
Their animosity deepened after Iran’s most prominent general, Qasem Soleimani, was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in January.
One of the most recent confrontations was in mid-April, when the US accused the Guard of using speedboats to harass its warships in the Gulf.
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'accidentally'

Iran missile ‘accidentally’ strikes own ship, kills one sailor

At least 19 sailors have been killed and 15 wounded after an Iranian missile fired during a training exercise in the Gulf of Oman struck a support vessel near its target, Iran’s army said. The friendly fire incident happened on Sunday near the port of Jask, about 1,270 kilometres (790 miles) southeast of Tehran on…

Iran missile ‘accidentally’ strikes own ship, kills one sailor

At least 19 sailors have been killed and 15 wounded after an Iranian missile fired during a training exercise in the Gulf of Oman struck a support vessel near its target, Iran’s army said.
The friendly fire incident happened on Sunday near the port of Jask, about 1,270 kilometres (790 miles) southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman, a statement on the army’s website said on Monday.
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“On Sunday afternoon, during an exercise by a number of the navy’s vessels in Jask and Chabahar waters, the Konarak light support vessel had an accident,” said a statement on the army’s website.
“The number of this accident’s martyrs is 19 and 15 have also been injured,” it added, saying the vessel had been towed ashore.
The missile struck the Konarak, a Hendijan-class support ship, which was taking part in the exercise.

At least a navy sailor has been killed & several injured in a naval accident on a light Iranian vessel in the Gulf of Oman on Sunday pic.twitter.com/2del4M6ZMw
— ISNA International (@Isna_Int) May 11, 2020

State television described the incident as an accident, saying the Konarak, a Hendijan-class support ship which was struck by the missile, had been putting targets out in the water for other ships to fire on and had strayed too close to a target.
“Iran’s Moudge-class frigate Jamaran accidentally hit the Konarak ship with a missile during the exercise,” Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
Iranian media said the Konarak had been overhauled in 2018 and was able to launch sea missiles.
The Dutch-made, 47-metre (155-foot) vessel had been in service since 1988.
It was not immediately clear how many crew members were on board the warship at the time of the accident.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency said at least 20 people had been killed and that there were as many as 40 crew members on board the Konarak.

بعدازظهر روز گذشته در حین انجام تمرین دریایی توسط تعدادی از شناورهای نیروی دریایی ارتش، شناور پشتیبانی سبک #کنارک دچار حادثه شد که تا کنون شهادت یک نفر محرز و تعدادی نیز مجروح شده‌اند. pic.twitter.com/auWyq0TNBi
— خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency) May 11, 2020

Anadolu said the incident had been blamed on “human error”, citing sources in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Iran regularly holds exercises in the Gulf of Oman, which is closed to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Gulf, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil passes.
Iranian media rarely report on mishaps during its exercises, highlighting the severity of the incident.
US-Iran tensions
The incident also comes at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.
Relations between the two foes have deteriorated sharply since 2018 when US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from a 2015 nuclear deal between key powers and Iran.
Washington then reimposed sanctions on Tehran, crippling its economy.
The animosity deepened in early January when the US assassinated top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.
Iran retaliated on January 8 by firing missiles at bases in Iraq where US troops were stationed.
On the same day, Iran’s armed forces shot down a Kyiv-bound Boeing 737 passenger jet over Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.
The military admitted to the catastrophic error, saying it came as Iran’s air defences were on high alert after firing the barrage of missiles at US targets in Iraq. 
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Iran launches missile attacks on US facilities in Iraq

Iran launched a series of missile attacks on US facilities in northern Iraq, including the Ain al-Asad military base where US troops are stationed, less than a week after the United States killed Qassem Soleimani, one of Iran’s top generals.  Iranian state television said the Revolutionary Guard had attacked Ain al-Asad airbase and threatened “more crushing responses” if the US…

Iran launches missile attacks on US facilities in Iraq

Iran launched a series of missile attacks on US facilities in northern Iraq, including the Ain al-Asad military base where US troops are stationed, less than a week after the United States killed Qassem Soleimani, one of Iran’s top generals. 
Iranian state television said the Revolutionary Guard had attacked Ain al-Asad airbase and threatened “more crushing responses” if the US launched any fresh attacks following the Iranian retaliation.
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In a statement, Iran warned the US allies in the region that they too would be attacked if they allowed their countries to be used for attacking Iran.
Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid, reporting from Baghdad, said 13 rockets had been fired at Ain al-Asad airbase and there had also been an attack on facilities close to the airport in Erbil.
The strikes come less than a week after the US attack on Soleimani, who was killed near Baghdad’s international airport, alongside Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several others.
Trump briefed
In the United States, the Pentagon confirmed more than a dozen rockets had been launched against US military and coalition forces in Iraq and that the missiles had come from Iran.
“We are working on initial battle damage assessments,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement. “We will all take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners and allies in the region.”
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived at the White House late on Tuesday, and an official said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the attacks and was monitoring the situation closely.
Hours earlier on Tuesday, Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over the killing of Soleimani who was commander of the elite Quds Force.

Iran on Wednesday targeted two sites in northern Iraq where US forces are stationed [Al Jazeera]

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” he told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or “by their own hand.”
“We’re prepared for any contingency. And then we will respond appropriately to whatever they do.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, warned the US and the world could not afford to go to war.

Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020

Ismael Alsodani, a retired Brigadier General and former Iraqi defence attache to the US told Al Jazeera, Iran’s reponse was calibrated to reflect the seriousness of the Soleimani attack.
“Killing Soleimani was an insult from the Americans to the Iranians,” Alsodani said. “They are compelled to retaliate in a way where the target will be the same size and scale of killing Soleimani. I don’t think this will be the only retaliation.”
Prompted by the strong public backlash over Soleimani’s killing on Iraqi soil, lawmakers in Iraq voted on Sunday to demand the removal of all foreign forces from the country.
More than 5,000 US troops remain in the country along with other foreign forces as part of a coalition that has trained and supported Iraqi security forces against the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).
“The worst expectation that Iraq had, that it will again become a theatre of confrontation between world powers seems to be coming true again tonight, as Iraq was the place where the US chose to take out Soleimani and Iraq again is the place where the Iranians chose to attack US forces,” Al Jazeera’s Bin Javaid said.
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