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Iran space launch fails to put payloads into orbit

The attempted launch,
which came as indirect US-Iran talks take place in Austria to try to salvage a
2015 nuclear deal, drew criticism from the United States, Germany and France.

For a payload to
enter orbit, it needs to reach speeds above 7,600 (metres per second). We
reached 7,350,” the spokesman, Ahmad Hosseini, said in a documentary about
the launch vehicle broadcast on state TV and posted online.

On Thursday, Hosseini
did not clarify whether the devices had reached orbit, but suggested the launch
was a test ahead of coming attempts to put satellites into orbit.

Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programmes in the Middle East, has
suffered several failed satellite launches in the past few years due to
technical issues.

Washington has said
it is concerned by Iran’s development of space launch vehicles, and a German
diplomat said Berlin had called on Iran to stop sending satellite launch
rockets into space, adding that they violated a UN Security Council resolution.

France said on Friday
the rocket launch aimed at sending three research devices into space violated
UN rules and was “even more regrettable” as nuclear talks with world
powers were making progress.

Iran’s foreign
ministry rejected the US, German and French criticism of Tehran’s launch of the
satellite-carrying rocket.

“Scientific and
research advances, including in the field of aerospace, are the inalienable
right of the Iranian people, and such meddling statements will not undermine
the Iranian people’s determination to make progress in this field,” it
said in a statement carried by state media.

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Tehran denies that
its space activity is a cover for ballistic missile development or that it
violated a UN resolution.

A UN resolution in
2015 “called upon” 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. Some states said the language did not make such a pledge
obligatory.

Iran says it has
never pursued the development of nuclear weapons and, therefore, the resolution
does not apply to its ballistic missiles, which Tehran regards as an important
deterrent and retaliatory force against US and other adversaries in the event
of war.

Iran launched its
first satellite Omid (Hope) in 2009, and its Rasad (Observation) satellite was
sent into orbit in 2011. Tehran said in 2012 that it had successfully put its
third domestically made satellite, Navid (Promise), into orbit.

In April 2020, Iran
said it successfully put the country’s first military satellite into orbit,
following repeated failed launch attempts in previous months.

The United States
imposed sanctions on Iran’s civilian space agency and two research
organisations in 2019, saying they were being used to advance Tehran’s
ballistic missile programme.

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