Statement by Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon on Iran's recent Satellite Launch

February 4, 2009

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today expressed deep concern over the implications to international security of yesterday's satellite launch by Iran.

"Canada calls on Iran to cease its ballistic missile programs and to use its new rocket technology exclusively for peaceful purposes," said Minister Cannon. "There is great concern in the international community that Iran will apply this new technology to its missile programs."

The launch of Omid, a small telecommunication satellite, was Iran's fourth attempt to place a satellite into orbit. The issue is that space launch vehicles and ballistic missiles use many of the same components. Iran is developing ballistic missiles that could carry weapon payloads over vast distances, such as the long-range Shahab-3 missile the country tested last July. Combined with Iran's failure to provide adequate reassurance that its nuclear program is for solely peaceful uses, yesterday's launch is worrisome.

"The international community must remain vigilant on exports of dual-use goods, services and technology to Iran to ensure that these are not used for military purposes," added the Minister.

The United Nations Security Council has passed several resolutions imposing economic sanctions against Iran because of its refusal to take steps to reassure the international community of the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear program. "Canada calls on Iran to comply immediately and fully with its obligations, as set out in the UN resolutions," said Minister Cannon.