Iranian satellite raises US fears

Washington "concerned" over Tehran's launch of first domestically built spacecraft.

    Ahmadinejad hailed the launch as his country's
    entry into the space race [EPA]

    "With this launch, the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially achieved a presence in space," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, said in a broadcast.

    Omid will stay in orbit for up to three months as part of a programme Iranian officials say is aimed at improving telecommunications and monitoring natural disasters.

    Nuclear fears

    Ahmadinejad has made scientific development, which often puts Iran at odds with the West, a central theme of his presidency.

    The satellite's launch demonstrates the development of technologies that many countries fear could one day be used to launch nuclear weapons. Iran insists it has no plans to do so.

    The Iranian Fars state news agency said the satellite "has been designed for gathering information and for testing equipment ... [that] is going to help Iranian experts send an operational satellite into space".

    It said the launch was "another achievement for Iranian scientists under sanctions".

    Iran is under two rounds of UN sanctions due to its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which the US and other Western nations fear could lead to the production of nuclear weapons.

    Tehran says its nuclear ambitions are limited to generating electricity.

    A satellite was put into orbit by Iran in 2005, but was carried by a Russian rocket.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera, Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    The life and death of Salman Rushdie, gentleman author

    The life and death of Salman Rushdie, gentleman author

    The man we call 'Salman Rushdie' today is not the brilliant author of the Satanic Verses, but a Picassoesque imposter.

    The Beirut Spy: Shula Cohen

    The Beirut Spy: Shula Cohen

    The story of Shula Cohen, aka The Pearl, who spied for the Israelis in Lebanon for 14 years.