Iran on Tuesday conducted one of at least two satellite launches it planned despite criticism from the United States, but the satellite failed to reach orbit, an official said. The rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the "necessary speed" in the third stage of its launch, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi told Iranian state television. Jahromi said the rocket had successfully passed its first and second stages before developing problems in the third. He did not elaborate on what caused the rocket failure, but promised that Iranian scientists would continue their work, the AP reports.
Iran has said it plans to send two satellites, Payam and Doosti, into orbit. Payam means "message" in Farsi, while Doosti means "friendship." It's unclear how the failure of Payam will affect the launch timing for Doosti. Jahromi wrote on Twitter that "Doosti is waiting for orbit," without elaborating. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Iran's plans for sending satellites into orbit demonstrate the country's defiance of a UN Security Council resolution that calls on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran insists the launches do not violate the resolution. (New sanctions were brought in after a 2017 launch.)