Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department Thursday warned Iran to halt its development of ballistic missiles in defiance of the U.N. while calling on the international community to tighten sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino said the United States is aware that the Iranian regime is continuing to develop and test ballistic missiles in defiance of the international community, as evidenced by the two failed space launches in less than a month.
On Wednesday, satellite imagery showed that Iran attempted to launch a satellite Feb. 5, its second such launch following its first attempt on Jan. 15.
Iran has said that it has every right to conduct these missile tests as they are to bolster its space program and self-defense, the New York Times reported.
"Space launch vehicles use technologies that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including in Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). This attempted launch furthers Iran's ability to eventually build such a weapon that threatens our allies," Palladino said.
Palladino said Iran - the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East - is continuing to "brazenly" defy United Nations Security Resolution 2231 by "working to enhance missile capabilities that threaten our allies."
He then called on the international community to strengthen sanctions against Iran to address its "blatant disregard for international norms."
"We must bring back tougher international restrictions to deter Iran's missile program," he said. "The United States will continue to be relentless in building support around the world to confront the Iranian regime's reckless ballistic missile activity, and we will continue to impose sufficient pressure on the regime so that it changes its malign behavior."