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U.S. sanctions Iran for satellite-capable rocket

The U.S. Treasury on Friday levied new sanctions on Iran one day after the country launched a rocket capable of carrying a satellite into space.

The Treasury said that though the rocket — which ultimately failed — was space-related, it “represents a threatening step by Iran.”

“Space launch vehicles use technologies that are closely related to those of an intercontinental ballistic missile,” a statement from the department said.

Iran announced Thursday it launched a Simorgh rocket capable of carrying a 550-pound satellite into orbit, though it was not immediately clear whether the rocket was actually carrying a satellite.

Iran has made ventures into space before, launching dummy satellites into orbit. In 2013, it launched a monkey into space and was able to retrieve the animal alive, the closest it has come to launching a human into orbit.

The sanctions target six Iran-based subordinates of Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group: Shahid Karimi Industries, Shahid Rastegar Industries, Shahid Cheraghi Industries, Shahid Varamini Industries, Shahid Kalhor Industries and Amir Al Mo’Menin Industries.

“The U.S. government will continue to aggressively counter Iran’s ballistic missile-related activity, whether it be a provocative space launch, its development of threatening ballistic missile systems, or likely support to Yemeni Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia such as occurred this past weekend,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, and underscore the United States’ deep concerns with Iran’s continued development and testing of ballistic missiles and other provocative behavior.”

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved broader sanctions against Tehran for a variety of threats, including state-sponsored terrorism. The bill levying the sanctions awaits signature from President Donald Trump.

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