TEHRAN, Iran – Iran defended North Korea's rocket launch, saying Monday that every nation has the right to the peaceful use of space technology.
North Korea claims it launched an experimental communications satellite into orbit Sunday. But the country's critics say it was an illicit test of the regime's long-range missile technology.
Iran also has a contentious relationship with the international community over its missile and nuclear programs and is believed to have cooperated extensively with North Korea on missile technology, though Iran denies that.
"We always consider the peaceful use of space in the framework of international regulation as a right for all," said Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hasan Qashqavi.
Click to view photos | Satellite image of the launch area
A Feb. 2 satellite launch by Iran also prompted international concerns. As with its nuclear program, Iran's space ambitions worry world powers because the same rocket technology used to carry satellites to orbit can also deliver warheads.
Speaking after Sunday's rocket launch, President Barack Obama warned North Korea and Iran that world powers were against them.
He pledged that the U.S. would not lower its defenses and would move forward with plans to extend a missile shield to Europe as long as Iran poses a threat.
The U.S. and its allies believe Iran is striving to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran denies that and says its atomic work is only for energy production.
Qashqavi on Monday again denied Iran posed a nuclear threat.
"There is no nuclear weapon in Iran to cause the threat. One cannot call technical achievements a threat," he said.
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