Iran General NewsIran launches space missile: state TV

Iran launches space missile: state TV

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Reuters: Iran has launched a missile capable of reaching space, Iran’s state television Web site reported on Sunday, quoting an Iranian aerospace official. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has launched a missile capable of reaching space, Iran’s state television Web site reported on Sunday, quoting an Iranian aerospace official.

“Iran has successfully launched its first space missile made by Iranian scientists,” the head of Iran’s aerospace research center, Mohsen Bahrami, was quoted as saying.

On Saturday, Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said Iran was planning to build a satellite and launcher.

Iranian advances in building missiles capable of reaching space are watched closely by the West because the same technology could be used to build intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Iran launched its first satellite, Sina-1, into orbit from a Russian rocket in 2005 and has said it planned to modify its Shahab-3 missile, which Iran says has a range of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles), to launch satellites.

Bahrami said the missile was built by his center in cooperation of the Defense and Science Ministries. He gave no further details.

Despite announcing what would be a major advance in Iran’s missile technology, the news was mentioned only once by the main state TV news channel and was not carried by other Iranian official media.

The U.N. Security Council has slapped sanctions on Iran that bar the transfer of technology and know-how to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, a move that was pushed for by the West because of fears that Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs.

Tehran says its nuclear program is purely civilian and aims to generate electricity.

The defense minister was quoted by a newspaper as saying: “Building a satellite and satellite launcher, as well as (previously) launching the first Iranian satellite called Sina with Russian cooperation, and becoming a member of the space club, are part of the Defense Ministry’s plans.”

The daily Etemad-e Melli said the minister made the comments on Saturday.

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