Iran defied threats of sanctions from the United States and tried to launch a satellite. However, the launch failed and fell back to Earth.
What's the context?
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Jan. 3 that the launch of such a satellite "would once again demonstrate Iran's defiance of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which calls upon the Iranian regime not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons."
He warned the Iranian government "to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and diplomatic isolation."
The Trump administration has already reinstated all of the sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the Obama administration.
Iran claims that its satellites are only for telecommunications purposes.
What happened during the launch?
Iran attempted to launch its satellite Tuesday. According to Iran's minister of communications and information Technology, Mohammad Jahromi, it "did not reach enough speed in the third stage and was not put into orbit."
The Associated Press reported that Jahromi said the rocket successfully completed its first and second stages before failing at the third stage. The AP speculated that the wreckage from the satellite likely fell into the Indian Ocean, based on the location of its launch and its presumed trajectory.
Jahromi promised that, despite this setback, Iran planned to launch another satellite soon. Jahromi said that a second satellite was already "waiting for orbit."
Iran has launched a few other satellites into orbit, as well as monkeys. All these satellites have been relatively short-lived. Iran claimed that the monkey had returned to Earth safely, but The Guardian noted that the photos from the launch showed two different animals.