Iran plans a "full launch" of a ballistic missile in February 2017, providing likely diplomatic headaches for the next American president, who will be inaugurated in late January, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
Iran made a test launch of its Simorgh space vehicle this month, with another test set for late August or early September. The "full launch" is set to follow in February.
Though Iran describes the Simorgh as part of its space program, it is widely believed to be cover for the Islamic Republic's work toward an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the United States.
"Space launch vehicle (SLV) technology of civilian programs is practically identical with ICBM technology," writes the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
"Tehran has masked the military origins of the program and then provides additional cover by making announcements that it will not develop ballistic missiles with ranges of over 2,000 kilometers."
Iran's Simorgh is based on North Korea's Unha rocket, raising more red flags of cooperation between the two rogue states, FDD notes.
The February test comes not only after the U.S. inauguration, but ahead of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's own re-election bid in June 2017. It is seen as a provocation by Iran as Republican candidates have denounced the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran last year.
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