Mike Pompeo
Mike PompeoReuters

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced sanctions against the Iranian Space Agency.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the sanctions will be implemented against the Iran Space Agency and two of its research institutes.

“This is the first time the United States is designating Iran’s civilian space agency for activities that advance its ballistic missile program,” said Pompeo.

“The United States will not allow Iran to use its space launch program as cover to advance its ballistic missile programs. Iran’s August 29 attempt to launch a space launch vehicle underscores the urgency of the threat,” he continued.

“These designations should serve as a warning to the international scientific community that collaborating with Iran’s space program could contribute to Tehran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon delivery system,” stressed Pompeo.

The sanctions follow Iran’s failed rocket launch last week which led to an explosion Iran's satellite launching site in Semnan province.

President Donald Trump on Friday commented on the explosion at the Iranian site, saying that the United States was not involved with the failed Iranian rocket launch.

“I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One,” he wrote in a tweet which included a satellite image of Thursday’s failed launch.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Iranian government confirmed that an explosion occurred in Iran's satellite launching site, but ruled out any sabotage of Iran's space projects.

Earlier this year, Iran twice attempted to launch a satellite into space but failed when the satellite failed to reach orbit.

The launches came despite Pompeo’s warning to Iran to cease its efforts to develop ballistic missiles. Pompeo demanded that Iran drop its plans for a space launch, saying such actions would defy UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls on Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

Thursday’s failed launch attempt came days after the head of the Iranian Space Agency said that Iran will launch three satellites into orbit by the end of this year.