The State Department imposed sanctions on Iran’s space agency on Tuesday, Sept. 3 following a failed rocket launch last week, which the United States suspects was an effort to develop its ballistic missile program.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that Iran’s recent attempt to launch a space vehicle underscored the “urgency of the threat” that the United States will not allow.

“These designations should serve as a warning to the international scientific community that collaborating with Iran’s space program could contribute to Tehran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon delivery system,” he said.

Iran government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday the explosion was “a technical matter and a technical error,” which followed two other failed launches in January and February.

Missile tests don’t violate the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and other world leaders, which seeks to curb Iran’s nuclear program. But the United States alleges such satellite launches defy a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

The sanctions are part of a maximum pressure campaign of economic and diplomatic measures against Iran as tensions between Iran and world powers have escalated in the Persian Gulf after a series of attacks and ship seizures.

Paris continued its diplomatic initiative to salvage the deal, aiming at reducing tension between Washington and Tehran. French President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly been trying to launch a $15 billion credit line to pre-purchase Iran’s oil, reported the Guardian.

Sen.Ted Cruz (R-Texas) opposed to the idea of easing sanctions on Tehran, saying the world leaders who “try to convince him ( President Trump) to give up his biggest national security victory, dismantling the Obama-Iran deal —that would be a massive, mistake.”

Includes reporting of the Associated Press

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