Iran’s satellite launch and JCPOA

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Iran’s satellite launch and JCPOA

  • On Dec 30, 2021 Iran launched three satellites into space using their indigenously developed Simorgh/Safir-2 launch vehicle. This vehicle is the successor of their first launch vehicle called Safir.
  • On one hand, they are arguing for the necessity of removing the US sanctions, which is harming their economy greatly, while on the other hand, they are undertaking missions like launching satellites and raising political temperatures, unnecessarily (or by design).
  • Normally, states like Iran and North Korea get bracketed as states, which are undertaking satellite launches to fulfill their (concealed) missile ambitions. It gets argued that these states cannot test missiles owing to UN restrictions put on them and issues related to Missile technology control regime (MTCR).


  • On December 30, 2021, Iran launched a rocket into space with a satellite carrier carrying three devices.


  • It's unclear when this launch took place or what devices the carrier launched into space.
  • However, a spokeswoman for the Defense Ministry identified the rocket as ""Simorgh, or Phoenix,"" which sent the three devices into space at a distance of 470 kilometres.
  • The status of the objects is unknown, implying that the rocket failed to place its payload into the proper orbit.
  • Iran broadcast footage of the explosion against the backdrop of talks in Vienna aimed at reviving Iran's shattered nuclear pact with Western powers. The eighth round of negotiations has recently completed.


  • In recent years, Iran's civil space programme has endured a series of setbacks, including catastrophic fires and a launchpad rocket accident.
  • Iran has launched several short-lived satellites into orbit over the years. It sent a monkey into space in 2013.

Iranian Space Agency (ISA)

  • The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) is the country's space agency.
  • In 2009, the country achieved orbital launch capability.
  • It is one of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space's 24 founding members (COPUOS). On December 13, 1958, COPUOS was founded.

Recent missions by Iran

  • January 2019: AUT-SAT microsatellite, developed by students of Amirkabir University of Technology, was launched onboard Simorgh rocket. It failed to reach the orbit.
  • February 2020: Iran successfully launched its communication satellite called Zafar 1, onboard the Simorgh rocket from Imam Khomeini Space Center. However, satellite didn’t reach the required speed in final moments and thus failed to put in the orbit.
  • April 2020: Iran successfully launched “Noor”, a military satellite, into orbit.

What is the iran nuclear deal?

  • In a 2015 agreement with the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, and Germany, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme.
  • Tehran promised to dramatically reduce its stockpiles of centrifuges, enriched uranium, and heavy water, all crucial components for nuclear bombs, under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • Joint Commission was established by the JCPOA to supervise the agreement's implementation, with all of the negotiation parties represented.

Why did Iran agree to the deal?

  • The UN, the US, and the European Union have all imposed crippling economic sanctions on it, costing it tens of billions of pounds in lost oil export profits each year. Overseas assets worth billions of dollars had been frozen as well.

Why has US pulled out of the deal?

  • Trump and opponents of the deal argue that it is faulty because it provides Iran with billions of dollars but does not address Iran's funding for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which the US regards to be terrorists.
  • They also point out that the agreement does not prevent Iran from developing ballistic missiles and that it expires in 2030. They claim Iran has already lied about its nuclear programme.

What are the implications of US sanctions on Iran?

  • Other countries have pledged to respect it, but their capacity to do so will be contingent on how their companies can be shielded from US penalties if they continue to conduct business with Iran.
  • The restrictions, known as ""secondary sanctions,"" are aimed primarily at non-US corporations doing business in or with Iran outside of US jurisdiction.