Iran Successfully Launched into Low Orbit Satellite Carrier Rocket

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The US has hit Iran with new sanctions in response to its launch of a satellite-carrying rocket into space.

Iran said it successfully tested the Simorgh (Phoenix) rocket which it said could put a satellite weighing up to 250 kg (550 pounds) in an orbit of 500 km (311 miles).

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday that the administration considered the launch-successful or not-to be a violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231, which implemented the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

The new sanctions are aimed at six offshoots of Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, the firm in charge of Iran's ballistic missile program, and prohibit American entities from carrying out transactions with those subsidiaries.

The sanctions freeze any assets the entities may have in the United States and prohibit Americans from doing business with them.

"Space launch vehicles use technologies that are closely related to those of an intercontinental ballistic missile and this launch represents a threatening step by Iran", the Treasury Department said in a statement Friday. There has been speculation that Tehran has kept close cooperation with Pyongyang over its missile and nuclear programs.

He also rejected the notion that Iran was working to develop missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead.

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Nauert on Thursday called Iran's rocket launch a "provocative action" that violated the "spirit" of the nuclear deal. "Iran is not and will not be developing nuclear weapons; so by definition can not develop anything created to be capable of delivering them", he tweeted.

The Treasury move was announced just hours after the US Senate voted nearly unanimously to impose new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea.

"Rhetoric and actions from the USA show bad faith", Zarif said.

Last week, the United States hit Iran with fresh sanctions, designating 18 individuals and entities for supporting what it said were "illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity".

In another allegation against the USA adversary, Mnuchin said that missile attacks on US partner Saudi Arabia over the weekend by Houthi rebels in Yemen had likely come with the support of Iran.

USA officials said the "conditions had been met", but Iran is "unquestionably in default of the spirit" of the agreement.