00:02 GMT +319 April 2019
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    A long-range Qadr ballistic missile is launched in the Alborz mountain range in northern Iran on March 9, 2016. (File)

    US Intensifies Sabotage Campaign on Iran’s Missiles, Space Programme – Report

    © AFP 2019 / Mahmood Hosseini /TASNIM NEWS
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    The US has initiated and “accelerated” a secret programme to sabotage Iran’s rocket and missile tests as part of a campaign to weaken Tehran’s military and suffocate its economy, The New York Times reports.

    The two most recent failed launches reportedly occurred January 15 and February 5. The NY Times noted that determining the success of the US programme is not possible but that the attempted launches had been thwarted "within minutes". The launch failures match up a pattern extending back 11 years: two-thirds of Iran's orbital launches over this period failed, while the average failure rate for comparable launches is 5 percent, the report concludes.

    "We won't stand by while the regime threatens international security", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a January 3 announcement, adding that "Iran plans to fire off Space Launch Vehicles with virtually the same technology as ICBMs". ICBMs refers to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    ​It's been widely reported that the US weaponised computer worms against Iran in the late 2000s with Stuxnet, a high-level software programme credited with "escaping the digital realm to wreak physical destruction" to sabotage centrifuges at Iranian nuclear plants, Wired magazine has reported.

    It's worth noting that a new Trump White House sabotage campaign against Iranian space launches would be unlikely to put Tehran into a state of shock. Back in 2016, a senior Iranian military commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced that Iran's enemies sought to "repeat their nuclear sabotage in the missile area," Iran's Press TV reported.

    Hajizadeh, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Aerospace Division, may have been referring to Stuxnet or sanctions Washington had imposed on Iran for testing ballistic missiles, Press TV noted at the time.

    "After the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or simply the Iran nuclear deal], most of the focus of the intelligence services, especially by the Americans, has turned to the missile issue", the brigadier general said in 2016.

    John Bolton, the US national security adviser, confirmed in September that the White House had authorised "offensive cyber operations" to deter foreign adversaries, The Washington Post reported at the time.

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    Tags:
    ICBMs, Stuxnet, Pompeo, Trump, Iran, United States
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