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White House calls Iran's rocket test-fire "provocative"

2010-02-04 08:19 BJT

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The White House said Wednesday Iran's test-firing of a satellite rocket is a "provocative act," and the United States urges Iran to "live up to its international obligations."

"A launch like that is obviously a provocative act," White House spokesman Bill Burton said, noting the United States was still checking to see if the launch had taken place.

"The president believes that it is not too late for Iran to do the right thing -- come to the table with the international community and live up to its international obligations," Burton said.

Iran's English-language satellite channel Press TV reported earlier in the day a "Kavosh 3" (Explore 3) rocket carrying an " experimental capsule" has been successfully test-fired and will transfer telemetric data, live pictures and flight and environmental analysis data.

Because satellite rockets share the same technology with ballistic missiles, Iran's new announcement caused concern in the West.

France has already voiced such concern, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero warning the launch "can only intensify the concerns of the international community" that Iran is trying to "develop a nuclear program in parallel."

The West has accused Iran of using its nuclear program to develop a nuclear weapon, a charge adamantly denied by Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Dennis Blair, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, told Congress Tuesday the intelligence community judge Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon.

"Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East and it continues to expand the scale, reach and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces -- many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload," Blair said.

However, Blair conceded the U.S. intelligence community doesn't know if Iran will eventually build nuclear weapons.

Blair also said Iran's nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, offering the international community opportunities to influence it.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday the United States hopes the P5+1, namely the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, can have discussions on the Iranian issue soon.


Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua