Iran is using a satellite launch vehicle to send three research devices into space, state media reports, while talks on reviving the nuclear deal continue in Vienna.
According to state media, Iran has launched a satellite launcher with three research devices into space as difficult negotiations about its tattered nuclear deal with the world powers continue in Vienna.
Thursday’s reports did not specify when the launch was carried out, nor what equipment the porter had brought with him. It was unclear whether any of the objects entered orbit around the earth.
Earlier launches have been reprimanded by the United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and reinstated sanctions against Iran.
Defense Ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said the Simorgh satellite launcher, whose name translates to “Phoenix”, launched the devices at an altitude of 470 kilometers (290 miles). He did not provide any further details.
Hosseini was quoted as saying that “the space center’s performance and the satellite carrier’s performance were properly performed”. He described the start as “just beginning,” suggesting that more are on the way.
“The research goals planned for this start were achieved,” added Hosseini, without going into the nature of the research.
Iranian television broadcast recordings of the white rocket adorned with the words âSimorgh satellite carrierâ and the slogan âWe canâ and shot into the morning sky from the Iranian spaceport Imam Khomeini. A state television reporter at a nearby desert location hailed the launch as “another achievement by Iranian scientists”.
Iranian state media recently presented a list of upcoming satellite launches for the country’s civil space program. Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps operates its own parallel program that successfully launched a satellite into orbit last year.
The explosions have raised concerns in Washington about whether satellite launch technology could advance ballistic missile development in Iran. The US says such satellite launches contradict a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to refrain from any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Iran, which has long declared that it will not seek nuclear weapons, is maintaining its satellite launches and missile testing has no military component.
In an interview with Al Jazeera from Vienna, Mohammad Marandi, professor at the University of Tehran, said the launch was part of the Iranian space program and should not have any impact on the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital.
âIran has had this space program for a long time. It has launched satellites into orbit on a number of occasions, âMarandi said.
“It’s pretty clear that the Iranians will continue to do business as usual – be it on their space program – or even their … ballistic missile technology,” he added.
“If the United States tries to prevent Iran from importing medicine, and if the Europeans help the United States ban such imports … Iran must become self-sufficient – and the space program is a natural part of that effort.”
A new round of negotiations started on Monday in Vienna to make new progress in relaunching the 2015 agreement.
Diplomats have repeatedly sounded the alarm that time is running out to restore the deal.
Due to the US exit from the agreement under former President Donald Trump, Iran is now calling for the sanctions to be lifted completely, guaranteeing that Washington will not exit again, and a deadline to verify that the sanctions are actually lifted.
The deal gave Iran sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
But after the US withdrew and imposed sanctions, Iran abandoned those restrictions and is now using advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium by up to 60 percent.