June 23, 2024

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran claimed on Wednesday that it has successfully put an imaging satellite into space.

The state-run IRNA news agency, quoting the country’s Communication Minister Isa Zarepour, said the Noor-3 satellite had been put in an orbit 450 kilometers (280 miles) above the Earth’s surface.

There was no immediate acknowledgment from Western officials of the launch or of the satellite being put into orbit. Iran has had a series of failed launches in recent years.

Zarepour said the aerospace arm of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched the satellite carrier, which has had success in launching satellites from its previously secret launch program. Authorities did not immediately release images of the launch.

The United States has alleged that Iran’s satellite launches defy a U.N. Security Council resolution and has called on Tehran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The U.S. intelligence community’s 2022 threat assessment claims such a satellite launch vehicle “shortens the timeline” to an intercontinental ballistic missile for Iran as it uses “similar technologies.”

Iran, which has long said it does not seek nuclear weapons, previously maintained that its satellite launches and rocket tests do not have a military component. U.S. intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency say Iran abandoned an organized military nuclear program in 2003. Iran has maintained its program is for peaceful purposes.

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