Iran insists that its satellite programme is aimed at scientific research and other civilian applications.
However, the solid-propellant space launcher raises serious concerns about the long-term sustainability of Iran’s commitment to limit the range of its ballistic missiles to less than 2,000 km, according to the arms-control analyst Fabian Hinz.
This latest development comes as the new White House administration of Joe Biden seeks to push ahead with its plans to resuscitate the 2015 nuclear deal signed with Iran.
Under the terms of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA), the Islamic Republic agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for the easing of economic sanctions.
However, Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the agreement in 2018 and reimposed punitive sanctions on Iran.
Mr Blinken added that the US President wanted to negotiate a bolder and more ambitious deal with Tehran to replace the old one.
Last week, the Iranian Foreign Minister categorically ruled out slowing down its nuclear programme until sanctions were eased.
Javad Zarif told reporters: “If the United States fulfils its obligations, we will fulfil our obligations in full.”
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