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Iran launches satellite tv for pc that’s a part of a Western-criticized program as regional tensions spike

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JERUSALEM — Iran mentioned Saturday it had performed a profitable satellite tv for pc launch into its highest orbit but, the newest for a program the West fears improves Tehran’s ballistic missiles.

The announcement comes as heightened tensions grip the broader Center East over Israel’s ongoing struggle on Hamas within the Gaza Strip, and simply days after Iran and Pakistan engaged in tit-for-tat airstrikes in every others’ nations.

The Soraya satellite tv for pc was positioned in an orbit at some 750 kilometers (460 miles) above the Earth’s floor with its three-stage Qaem 100 rocket, the state-run IRNA information company mentioned. It didn’t instantly acknowledge what the satellite tv for pc did, although telecommunications minister Isa Zarepour described the launch as having a 50-kilogram (110-pound) payload.

The launch was a part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ house program alongside Iran’s civilian house program, the report mentioned.

There was no quick impartial affirmation Iran had efficiently put the satellite tv for pc in orbit. The U.S. navy and the State Division didn’t instantly reply to request for remark.

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America has beforehand mentioned Iran’s satellite tv for pc launches defy a U.N. Safety Council decision and known as on Tehran to undertake no exercise involving ballistic missiles able to delivering nuclear weapons. U.N. sanctions associated to Iran’s ballistic missile program expired final October.

The U.S. intelligence group’s 2023 worldwide risk evaluation mentioned the event of satellite tv for pc launch automobiles “shortens the timeline” for Iran to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile as a result of it makes use of related know-how.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles can be utilized to ship nuclear weapons. Iran is now producing uranium near weapons-grade ranges after the collapse of its nuclear take care of world powers. Tehran has sufficient enriched uranium for “a number of” nuclear weapons, if it chooses to supply them, the pinnacle of the Worldwide Atomic Power Company repeatedly has warned.

Iran has all the time denied looking for nuclear weapons and says its house program, like its nuclear actions, is for purely civilian functions. Nonetheless, U.S. intelligence businesses and the IAEA say Iran had an organized navy nuclear program up till 2003.

The involvement of the Guard within the launches, in addition to it with the ability to launch the rocket from a cellular launcher, increase considerations for the West. The Guard, which solutions solely to Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, revealed its house program again in 2020.

Over the previous decade, Iran has despatched a number of short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into house. This system has seen current troubles, nonetheless. There have been 5 failed launches in a row for the Simorgh program, one other satellite-carrying rocket.

A hearth on the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in February 2019 killed three researchers, authorities mentioned on the time. A launchpad rocket explosion later that yr drew the eye of then-President Donald Trump, who taunted Iran with a tweet displaying what seemed to be a U.S. surveillance photograph of the positioning.

In December, Iran despatched a capsule into orbit able to carrying animals because it prepares for human missions within the coming years.


Related Press author Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

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