Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran has lied when it claimed it is launching a satellite into orbit. The real aim was to test an intercontinental ballistic missile, he insisted.
In an address Tuesday morning Netanyahu said Iran conducted the launch experiment as a first step toward developing an intercontinental missile, Haaretz reported.
"Iran is launching an innocent satellite, but is actually interested in reaching the first stage of an intercontinental ballistic missile, violating agreements."
Netanyahu used the occasion of a ceremony welcoming the new Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Major General Aviv Kochavi in Tel Aviv to blast Iran for the launch.
The United States and France had earlier waned Iran not to launch the satellite saying it would violate a United Nations resolution barring Iran from testing missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Iran announced a satellite launch does not violate the UN resolution and vowed to continue plans to launch satellites.
Netanyahu also renewed his call for Iran to withdraw its forces from Syria and vowed to continue Israel’s “assertive policy” against the Iranian presence there. On January 13, the Israeli leader had acknowledged an Israeli air-launched missile strike on targets near Damascus over the weekend, saying it contained Iranian weapons.