Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Amit Shabi/Yedioth Ahronoth/POOL) (Amit Shabi/Yedioth Ahronoth/POOL)
Netanyahu north

Israel’s prime minister blasted the Islamic Republic, which unsuccessfully launched a satellite this week that appears to be linked to its covert program to develop nuclear weapons.

By Associated Press and United with Israel Staff

While Iran characterized its recent spacecraft launch as nothing more than an “innocent satellite,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu identified it as “the first stage of an intercontinental missile” Iran is developing in violation of international agreements.

Netanyahu says the launch is part of the Iranian government’s lies, beginning with its denial of trying to develop a nuclear weapon and its flaunting of the nuclear accord reached with world powers.

Speaking at a ceremony welcoming Israel’s incoming military chief, Netanyahu said that Israel is committed to exposing Iran, which “lies all the time,” he added.

Iran announced earlier on Tuesday that it had conducted one of at least two satellite launches it plans despite criticism from the United States.

Iran admitted that while it had launched the Payem satellite, it never reached orbit.

According to Iran’s Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, the satellite carrier rocket failed to reach “necessary speed” in the third stage, though it successfully passed the first and second stages of the launch.

Earlier in January, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran’s plans for sending satellites into orbit demonstrate the country’s defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

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