Says it has never pursued development of nuclear weapons
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards tested a new satellite-carrying rocket on Saturday, state media reported, a development likely to anger the United States.
Washington fears the same long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads. Tehran has regularly denied having any such intention.
“The flight test of this satellite carrier with a solid-fuelled engine … was successfully completed,” state news agency IRNA reported.
The Ghaem 100, Iran’s first three-stage launch vehicle, will be able to place satellites weighing 80 kg (176 lb) in an orbit of 500 km (310 miles) from the earth’s surface, IRNA said.
Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division which developed the Ghaem 100, said the rocket would be used to launch Iran’s Nahid satellite for the telecommunications ministry, state media reported.
Saturday’s operation tested the first sub-orbital stage of the rocket, the reports added.
Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programmes in the Middle East, has had several failed satellite launches in the past few years, blamed on technical issues.
A U.N. resolution in 2015 called on Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons following an agreement with six world powers.
Iran says it has never pursued the development of nuclear weapons and, therefore, the resolution does not apply to its ballistic missiles, which Tehran had described as an important deterrent and retaliatory force.—Reuters