Today, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed it has successfully launched a military satellite into space for the first time. The Guard Corps said the satellite was launched using a Ghased, or "Messenger", satellite carrier. The satellite supposedly reached 264 miles above the Earth's surface. Independent sources could not confirm the launch and the IRGC didn't provide evidence. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on that because in the past year alone Iran has failed to launch a satellite three times. On top of that the country also had to deal with a rocket explosion on the launchpad and a separate fire that killed three researchers at the Imam Khomeini Space Center. Iran has been working for at least a decade to advance its ballistic missile and rocket technology. If claims of the launch are true this could be a big stepping stone for the country.
This news comes on the same morning that US President Donald Trump authorized the use of deadly force against Iran's naval forces in the event of further aggression in international waters. President Trump was responding to an incident on April 15th, in which 11 IRGC Navy gunboats harassed US vessels in international waters. In some cases Iranian boats came within 10 yards of US forces. IRGC boats ignored calls and warnings to break off from the engagement for a full hour before sailing away. If you want more info on that engagement we have an article up here.
Stay safe and have a good one,