Iran He claimed on Thursday to have launched a rocket with three space research devices, a project that could be criticized by the West in the midst of negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.
“The Simorgh satellite launcher sent three research devices into space”Ahmad Hoseini, a spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry, was quoted as saying by state television.
The network briefly showed images of the device being launched from a desert location, celebrating “another achievement by Iranian scientists.”
“The research objectives foreseen for this launch were achieved,” Hoseini said without giving further details. “This is a preliminary launch and we will have operational launches in the near future,” he promised.
The local media did not specify where the takeoff took place from. US media, citing experts and satellite images, claimed this month that Iran was preparing to launch a rocket from the Semnan special center, 300 km east of Tehran.
Thursday’s announcement comes after the resumption of negotiations at the end of November, after a five-month interruption, to save the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program sealed in 2015 between Tehran and the countries that still participate in that pact (France, UK, Germany, Russia, China).
These talks seek to bring back the United States, which under the presidency of Donald Trump in 2018 separated from the pact and restored sanctions on Tehran. This country participates in the negotiations indirectly.
The agreement, validated by UN Security Council resolution 2231, requires Iran “not to carry out any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear charges, including shots that use ballistic missile technology.”
Tehran had announced in February the testing of a new satellite launcher equipped with its “most powerful” solid fuel engine.
According to the Pentaphone and satellite images from the Semnán space center, Iran tried unsuccessfully to launch a satellite into space in mid-June, something denied by the Persian nation.
In February 2020, the Islamic Republic had failed to launch a scientific observation satellite, dubbed Zafar (“Victory” in Persian), into orbit.
France and the United States condemned the maneuver that, according to them, sought to strengthen Iranian competencies in the field of ballistic missiles through the launch of satellites.
Two months later, in April 2020, the Guardians of the Revolution, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, launched its first military satellite.
At the time, the United States believed that this launch proved that the Iranian space program was intended for military rather than commercial purposes.
The West suspects that Iran seeks to develop, using the technology of its satellite launchers, long-range ballistic launchers capable of carrying conventional or nuclear payloads.
Tehran, which claims not to want to equip itself with the atomic weapon, affirms that its ballistics and space programs do not go against the UN resolution.