"This is a cause for concern not just here in the United States but in
Europe, throughout the Middle East and I believe throughout the greater
world," Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell said.
Officials said the United States was consulting with other NATO allies
to acquire details of Iran's satellite. They said Israel has also confirmed
the Iranian satellite launch.
At this point, officials said, the Iranian Omid, or Hope, satellite
appeared to be a platform of about 25 kilograms. The Safir-2 space launch
vehicle, they said, appeared to be
designed by North Korea.
"One thing is clear," an official said, "the Iranians have demonstrated
an ability to fire missiles that could travel at least 2,500 kilometers and
probably more. This means that the entire Middle East and much of Europe is
in their range."
In 2008, the United States, under the Bush administration, intensified
sanctions on Iran's missile and nuclear program. Officials said they did not
know whether President Barack Obama, who has pledged reconciliation with
Iran, would continue this policy.
"Efforts to develop missile delivery capability, efforts that continue
on an illicit nuclear program, or threats that Iran makes toward Israel, and
its sponsorship of terror are of acute concern to this administration,"
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.