Iranian Rocket Raises International Tensions

February 05, 2008 11:21 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Iran celebrates the inauguration of its space program by firing a rocket beyond Earth's atmosphere. U.S. policy analysts respond by pushing for UN sanctions.

30-Second Summary

Some U.S. analysts believe that the Feb. 4 launch indicates that Iran has a secret missile development program.

John Wolfsthal, a non-proliferation expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said, “A space launcher and a ballistic missile are essentially the same.”

White House spokesperson Dana Perino stated that the launch “further isolates the country from the rest of the world.”

The December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, released by the U.S. government, reported that Iran voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons development programs in 2003.

However, others involved with U.S. foreign policy remain unconvinced, and are pushing for a third round of UN sanctions against Iran.

Reports show that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s support is dwindling, and the Council on Foreign Relations writes that the Iranian economy is sluggish.

In fact, the results of a June 2007 poll conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow found that “discontent with isolation with the West is widespread … and nuclear weapons are the lowest priority for the Iranian people.”

Headline Link: ‘Iran Space Program Launches Rocket’

Background: National Intelligence Estimate

Key Players: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Opinion & Analysis: The National Intelligence Estimate

Reference: Iran’s voting patterns

Related Topics: ‘Divisions Simmer Behind Iran’s Public Face’


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