Iran has launched a rocket capable of placing a satellite into orbit, Fox News reports. While the Tehran government claims that the launch vehicle successfully deployed the satellite, this assertion could not be confirmed immediately.

However, experts suggest that Iran’s true goal is not the development of a civilian space program but rather an ICBM capable of deploying a Nuclear Weapon on any target in the world. The launch comes at a time when the Trump administration is reevaluating the nuclear arms agreement that President Obama signed with the Islamic Republic and is considering new sanctions to counter both Iran’s missile program and its support of worldwide terrorism.

Why is putting a satellite into orbit is a precursor for an ICBM?

As Tom Rogan notes in the Washington Examiner, the technology needed to launch a satellite into space is similar to that needed to place a nuclear warhead on a target on the Earth’s surface like New York, Paris, or Tel Aviv. Both operations require a missile that has a large engine and an advanced guidance system. The only technology that would be needed to convert a satellite launcher into an ICBM is a reentry system that will place a warhead on the target of choice.

Iran has made no secret of its desire to destroy the State of Israel. Some in the Iranian leadership favor a nuclear strike against the United States, even if it meant a response with American nuclear weapons. In Shia Islam, such a cataclysm, in the belief of some, would presage the return of the so-called 12th Imam and the establishment of a global caliphate.

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Seeing Iran obliterated would be seen, in the view of some, as a good trade off.

American response

The Obama administration had pursued a policy of appeasement toward the Iranian regime, signing the nuclear weapons agreement that many note has an inadequate inspection protocol, and paying billions of dollars for American hostages. The Trump administration is in the process of revising policies dealing with the Islamic Republic. The new policy will likely include a repudiation of the nuclear weapons agreement, the imposition of new sanctions, and a new covert operation to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal.

Trump and his foreign policy and national security advisors are keenly aware of what happens when a rogue nation acquires nuclear weapons. An example of this is North Korea, which is feverishly developing an ICBM of its own that is capable of putting a nuclear warhead on the American west coast. The Trump administration is moving to test and deploy missile defenses to counter the North Korean threat. It may have to do the same against Iran.