- Iran says it has successfully tested a rocket that can deliver satellites into orbit, days after the USA imposed new economic sanctions on Tehran over its ballistic missile programme, BBC News said.
A U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center report warns the space program could just be a test bed for intercontinental ballistic missile technologies.
The UN Security Council resolution passed in 2015 to carry out the nuclear deal discourages but doesn't explicitly prohibit Iran from launching ballistic missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead. The July 27 launch is the second time that the Simorgh has flown and will add to tensions between the United States and Iran.
Iran's official media said the launch was successful, however, a US official couldn't immediately confirm if the rocket reached space and if the satellite successfully deployed.
The two-stage Simorgh rocket is created to orbit a 250 kg payload into a 500 km (311 mile) low earth orbit and did not carry a payload in this second test flight.
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Iran's PRESSTV، an affiliate of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting network، announced Thursday afternoon that the Simorgh spacecraft had been successfully test-launched.
Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit over the past decade, and in 2013 launched a monkey into space.
Just like Iran's previous satellite launches, the latest move drew widespread criticism from the West, with the United States describing the move as a "provocative action" that violated the "spirit" of 2015 nuclear deal struck between Iran and world powers.
Iran's satellite-launch program falls under the responsibility of the defense ministry, which has denied that the space program is a cover for weapons development.
While the Tehran government claims that the launch vehicle successfully deployed the satellite, this assertion could not be confirmed immediately.