Iran’s state television announced on Sunday the launch of a solid-fueled rocket into space, a move drawing criticism from the U.S. ahead of plans for continued talks regarding the Iranian nuclear deal.
The action is one of the multiple rocket launches intended to carry satellites into orbit, Iran’s government confirmed earlier this month.
“Ahmad Hosseini, spokesman for Iran’s Defense Ministry, said Zuljanah, a 25.5 meter-long rocket, was capable of carrying a satellite of 220 kilograms (485 pounds) that would ultimately gather data in low-earth orbit and promote Iran’s space industry. Zuljanah is named for the horse of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad,” the Associated Press reported.
The White House confirmed in the report that it was aware of the launch and referred to the act as “unhelpful and destabilizing.”
The launch followed reports earlier this month that showed images from Maxar Technologies revealing a launch pad at Imam Khomeini Space Launch Terminal in Iran.
Iran’s state news agency also noted in May that Iran would likely “have seven homemade satellites ready for launch by the end of the Persian calendar year in March 2023.”
The launch comes after a visit on Friday to Tehran by European Union (E.U.) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. The E.U. leader met with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials as part of the ongoing efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear development.
“Important outcome of my visit to #Iran is that we deblocked recent deadlock and that halted Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action #JCPOA negotiations will resume,” Borrell stated on Twitter.
Important outcome of my visit to #Iran is that we deblocked recent deadlock and that halted Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action #JCPOA negotiations will resume.https://t.co/NY2OFa2eGA pic.twitter.com/Lq7dRvC4Vp
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) June 25, 2022
In his remarks following the visit, Borrell said he “had the opportunity to explain to my Iranian counterparts that the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] will allow them to go to full potential in terms of economy.”
He added, “But for this, the JCPOA has to be fully operational and fully implemented.”
The Biden administration’s involvement in the Iranian talks had previously stalled after the Iranian government demanded that the U.S. remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its terror list.
More than 80 House Republicans joined in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to speak out against the potential removal of the IRGC.
“For years the IRGC has supported and participated in numerous human rights abuses and terrorist activities. They should not be removed from the FTO list until they can prove that they have ceased ALL terrorist activity,” Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), one of the representatives joining the letter, said in a statement.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, a group of 900 Gold Star family members and wounded military veterans also sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him not to give in to Iran’s demands.
“We have grave concerns over published reports that the Biden Administration is considering removing there from the StateDepartment’s Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. In our view, removing the IRGC’s FTO designation would threaten American lives, harm veterans and Gold Star families, and empower a terrorist organization that continues to sponsor and commit attacks against U.S. interests and allies in the Middle East,” the April letter stated.