Iran: Launched rocket to space

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran launched its most ad­vanced satel­lite-car­ry­ing rocket into space on Thurs­day, the coun­try’s state me­dia re­ported.

A con­firmed launch of the “Si­morgh” rocket would mark an­other step for­ward for the Is­lamic Repub­lic’s young space pro­gram, but it comes af­ter its ad­ver­saries have ex­pressed fear that the same tech­nol­ogy could be used to pro­duce long-range mis­siles.

Ira­nian state tele­vi­sion said the rocket, whose name means “phoenix” in Per­sian, is ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing a satel­lite weigh­ing 550 pounds. The re­port did not elab­o­rate on the rocket’s pay­load. Other statelinked agen­cies, in­clud­ing the semiof­fi­cial Fars news agency, also de­scribed the launch as suc­cess­ful.

Me­dia re­ports did not say when the launch took place at the Imam Khome­ini Na­tional Space Sta­tion in Sem­nan, about 138 miles east of Tehran.

Iran fre­quently an­nounces tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs that are dif­fi­cult to in­de­pen­dently ver­ify. It has car­ried out mul­ti­ple tests of short­and medium-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles as well as other do­mes­ti­cally pro­duced weapons over the years.

The Si­morgh is a two-stage rocket that was first re­vealed in 2010. It is larger than an ear­lier model known as the Safir, or “am­bas­sador,” that Iran has pre­vi­ously used to launch satel­lites.

The launch comes as the United States has crit­i­cized Iran’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests, which Amer­i­can of­fi­cials ar­gue vi­o­late the spirit of the 2015 nu­clear deal that Iran struck with world pow­ers. Un­der the agree­ment, which does not ex­pressly pro­hibit mis­sile tests, Iran agreed to limit its ura­nium en­rich­ment pro­gram in ex­change for the lift­ing of eco­nomic sanc­tions.

Iran has pur­sued a satel­lite launch pro­gram for years.

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