U.S. Officials: Iran pulls missile from Launchpad after apparent prep for launch



Fox News Agency has reported that Iran removed a powerful missile from a Launchpad east of Tehran within the past few days, as U.S. and Iranian officials continued trading public barbs about the Iran’s missile tests.
The Pentagon is concerned because Safir missiles use the same components as those needed for an intercontinental ballistic missile. Iran’s ballistic program has “expanded dramatically” in the past 10 years, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.
New satellite imagery from Feb. 3, obtained exclusively by Fox News from Image Sat International and verified by U.S. officials, showed Iran preparing a Safir for launch. That missile is the type Iran has previously used to put a satellite into space.
Fox News said that it has been two years since Iran has launched a Safir into space, according to officials. However, there has been a flurry of activity on an Iranian Launchpad that U.S. officials have been watching closely, since the launch of a ballistic missile from the site last week.
In a surprising about-face, Fox News learned Tuesday morning that Iran’s missile had been removed from the Launchpad. It was not immediately clear why.
On Jan. 29, Iran launched a new type of medium-range ballistic missile prompting an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 31. A day later the White House issued a strongly worded statement from National Security Adviser Mike Flynn putting Iran “on notice.” President Trump tweeted a similar statement soon after.
Days later, according to Fox News, American intelligence officials watched as Iran quickly cleaned up the site and prepared another missile on the same Launchpad near Semnan, about 140 miles east of Tehran, before it was removed.
Image Sat International reported a “missile integrations facility” near the Launchpad that is normally quiet had a host of visitors on February 3, when the new missile showed up on the Launchpad. Another satellite photo showed an additional Iranian missile launcher and nine vehicles in the desert not far from the Launchpad.
On Friday, the same day the satellite photos showed the new Safir missile on the launchpad, the White House announced new sanctions against 13 Iranian individuals and 12 Iranian companies tied to its missile program.
Iran’s Supreme Leader on Tuesday issued a new warning to the White House about the coming 38th anniversary of Iran’s Revolution this Friday.
According to Reuters, Khamenei said, “No enemy can paralyze the Iranian nation. [Trump] says ‘you should be afraid of me’. No! The Iranian people will respond to his words on Feb. 10 and will show their stance against such threats.”
Speaking in Tokyo on his first overseas trip, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called Iran the “single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
The view was shared by former President Barack Obama’s State Dept. in its last terrorism report issued in June. The report listed Iran first as a state sponsor of terrorism along with Sudan and Syria.
On Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called Iran’s recent ballistic missile launch “very dangerous” and said the launch “should not have happened,” and agreed with President Trump that new sanctions on Iran were needed.
Fox News added that also on Sunday, Iran fired off five advanced surface-to-air missiles as part of a military exercise Sunday, two US officials told Fox News. The Iranian Sayyad — or “Hunter” — missiles were launched from the Dasht-e Kavir, a remote area 45 miles south of Semnan, the location of last week’s ballistic missile launch. Officials said the tests were successful.
In his book “The Field of Fight,” Flynn writes about Iran: “For nearly forty years every American administration has permitted Iran to build up its strength, and even organize assassinations in our capital. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan either directly sold weapons to Iran, or enabled others to do it.”

Editorial Team