What is Plaguing Iran's Space Program? Another Rocket Launch Fails, 5th in a Row

Yet another rocket launch failure has put the spotlight on the issues plaguing Iran's fledgling space program. Multiple media accounts said Iran's latest rocket launch, which took place earlier this month, had failed.

Data collected through satellite images confirmed the failed launch of a satellite-carrying rocket. Besides, the Associated Press reported that a US official and a rocket expert also said the rocket launch, which took place on June 12, had failed.

Preparing for Another Launch

Reports also said, the country is preparing for another launch. The latest rocket launch failure was the fourth in a row. Besides Iran's space agency, the Revolutionary Guard also runs a parallel space program.

Iran missile test
A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran Reuters

The launch was attempted from the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran's Semnan province.

The US insists that rocket launches by Iran violate UN Security Council resolutions, and Washington suspects that Iran is secretly polishing ballistic missile capability.

The news comes amid heightened tension in the region after the falling apart of the nuclear deal the country had signed with the western powers in 2015. Iran has angered Israel and its western allies by going ahead with uranium enrichment.

Natanz attack

A crippling cyber attack on Iran's Natanz nuclear facility in April had raised tensions in the region to an new level. Meanwhile, Iran is allegedly backing drone and missiles strikes against US army bases around Iraq, while Teheran is also reportedly supporting Syrian factions in launching drone strikes against Israel.

Ebrahim Raisi, Iran president-elect
Ebrahim Raisi, Iran president-elect Wikimedia Commons

According to CNN, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Uriah Orland had confirmed Iran's failed rocket launch. "U.S. Space Command is aware of the Iranian rocket launch failure which occurred early June 12," he had said.

Preparations for the launch had been taking place at the spaceport on June 6, as per satellite images. It was clear that the scene resembled the typical launch site for an Iranian Simorgh rocket, which is a satellite-carrying rocket. "The overall level of activity at the site was much lower. So to our mind, that looked like a launch," the network quoted an expert as saying.

Ebrahim Raisi Elected President

The launch came immediately after ultra hardline Ebrahim Raisi won the Iranian presidential elections 2021, raising further concerns in the West due to his controversial past. Raisi, a protege of Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, secured more than 60 percent of the votes in Friday's election. Raisi has been accused of being part of a massive judicial mission that facilitated the killing of 3,000 members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) resistance movement following the end of the war with Iraq.

The US says satellite launches are a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and fears that Iran is secretly going ahead with a ballistic missile program.

Iran's Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi clarified that there was no failed rocket launch, but was unable to explain the kind of activity reported at the site.