Iran's 'Victory' satellite fails to reach orbit

Iran's 'Victory' satellite fails to reach orbit
Iran's 'Victory' satellite fails to reach orbit

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Iran unveiled a new short-range missile called Thunder on Sunday and launched a satellite named Victory which failed to reach orbit.

A defence ministry official earlier told state television the "Zafar" ("Victory") satellite had launched successfully at 7.15pm local time but had not reached orbit.

"We will make improvements for future launches," he said.

Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said the satellite launch had not gone as planned.

"I wanted to make you happy with good news but sometimes life does not go the way we want it to. The launch was not successful," he added.

The failed launch was the fourth time in a row Iran has been unable to successfully put a satellite into orbit. The last time Tehran tried to do this was in January last year, but the rocket carrying the satellite into space failed to pick up enough speed during the third stage of the flight.

Sunday's developments took place at a time of high tension with the United States, which killed Iranian military commander Qassem Suleiimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, prompting a pair of Iranian missile attacks on a US military bases in Iraq.

US officials say they fear long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads. Tehran says it has never pursued the development of nuclear weapons.

State television said Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is in charge of the country's missile programme, had unveiled the new missile, called Raad-500, Farsi for "thunder".

Iran's clerical rulers say Tehran's missile programme is solely defensive.

The first picture the satellite had been due to transmit to state media would have been of Suleimani Azari-Jahromi told state TV.

He said it was launched from Iran's Imam Khomeini Space Centre in Iran's Semnan province, a facility under the control of the country’s defence ministry.

Iran usually displays its military and space achievements in February during the anniversary of its 1979 revolution that toppled the US-backed Shah.

State television said the Raad-500 missile was half the weight of a similar missile, the Fateh-110, but its range was about 200 kilometres more and it could be powered by a new generation of engines designed to put satellites into orbit.

There was no immediate US comment on the announcements.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the failed satellite launch to attack Iran’s military strategy.

"They are also failing when it comes to the transfer of weapons to Syria and Lebanon because we are acting (against that) all the time, including during these very days," he tweeted on Sunday.

Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran after US President Donald in 2018 pulled the America out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

Under that deal, Tehran curbed its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions on Iran.

But Mr Trump said the agreement was flawed because it was not permanent, did not address Iran’s missile programme and did not involve what Washington considers Iran's meddling in regional countries.

Updated: February 10, 2020 04:40 AM

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