Guards say Iran successfully launches first military satellite

Iran successfully launches its first military satellite: US believes programme is cover for missile development

  • The Revolutionary Guards say the satellite was ‘successfully launched into orbit’ 
  • Iran says the satellite orbited Earth at 264 miles after launching from the desert
  • Washington says Iran’s satellite launches violate UN ballistic missile resolutions 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said today that they had launched the country’s first military satellite, which the US regards as a cover for missile development.  

‘The first satellite of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been successfully launched into orbit by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,’ said the Guards’ Sepahnews website.

It said the satellite – dubbed the Nour – had been launched from the Qassed two-stage launcher from the Markazi desert, a vast expanse in Iran’s central plateau.

The satellite ‘orbited the earth at 264 miles’, said the website.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say they have launched the country’s first military satellite. This picture shows the failed launch of the Zafar satellite on February 9

‘This action will be a great success and a new development in the field of space for Islamic Iran,’ the statement added.

The surprise operation comes more than two months after Iran launched but failed to put into orbit another satellite that it said had no military dimensions.

The attempted launch on February 9 of the Zafar – ‘Victory’ in Persian – came days before the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

That failure came after two failed launches of the Payam and Doosti satellites last year, as well as a launchpad rocket explosion in August.

Washington says that these satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution on ballistic missiles. 

US officials fear that the launches could help Iran develop intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.  

Iran maintains it has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons, claiming its aerospace activities are peaceful and comply with the UN’s orders. 

It is not believed that Iran has the technology to miniaturise a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile. 

Long-standing acrimony between Tehran and Washington has been mounting further since Trump withdrew from the West’s nuclear deal with Iran in 2018.

Trump re-imposed sanctions which have badly damaged the Iranian economy, also hindering its response to coronavirus. 

Tensions reached an alarming peak earlier this year after Donald Trump ordered a drone strike which killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.    

Iran retaliated with missile strikes on US bases in Iraq, but faced anger from its own population after accidentally shooting down a passenger jet with many Iranians on board.  

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