Iran launches satellite as part of Western-criticized program; regional tensions spike

Iran launches satellite as part of Western-criticized program; regional tensions spike
Iran launches satellite as part of Western-criticized program; regional tensions spike

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Iran launches satellite as part of Western-criticized program; regional tensions spike in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - TEHRAN — Iran said Saturday it had conducted a successful satellite launch into its highest orbit yet, the latest for a program the West fears improves Tehran's ballistic missiles.

The announcement comes as heightened tensions grip the wider Middle East over Israel's ongoing war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and just days after Iran and Pakistan engaged in tit-for-tat airstrikes in each other’s countries.

The Soraya satellite was placed in an orbit at 750 kilometers (466 miles) above the Earth's surface with a three-stage rocket, the state-run IRNA news agency said.

The IRNA did not immediately acknowledge what the satellite did, though Telecommunications Minister Isa Zarepour described the launch as having a 50-kilogram payload.

The launch was part of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' space program alongside Iran's civilian space program, the report said.

There was no immediate independent confirmation Iran had successfully put the satellite in orbit.

The US military and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The United States has previously said Iran's satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution and called on Tehran to undertake no activity involving ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

UN sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile program expired in October.

The US intelligence community's 2023 worldwide threat assessment said the development of satellite launch vehicles "shortens the timeline" for Iran to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile because it uses similar technology.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles can be used to deliver nuclear weapons.

Iran is now producing uranium close to weapons-grade levels after the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers.

Tehran has enough enriched uranium for “several” nuclear weapons, if it chooses to produce them, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency repeatedly has warned.

Iran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons and says its space program, like its nuclear activities, is for purely civilian purposes. However, US intelligence agencies and the IAEA say Iran had an organized military nuclear program up until 2003.

Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. The program has seen recent troubles, however. There have been five failed launches in a row for the Simorgh program, another satellite-carrying rocket. — Agencies


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