Iran has launched an observation satellite- its first since 2012- with President Hassan Rouhani declaring it safely entered orbit and that he had personally ordered the mission.

The Fajr (Dawn) satellite was successfully placed 450km above Earth on Monday, said Al-Alam television, an Arabic-language station owned by the Islamic republic.

It took eight minutes to reach orbit and is now linked with its ground-based controllers, state media said.

The satellite is Iran's fourth launched by Iran, after three others between 2009-2012.

The satellite was locally made, said the official IRNA news agency, as was its launcher, according to Rouhani who noted Iran's aim is to have no reliance on foreign space technology.

"Our scientists have entered a new phase for conquering space. We will continue on this path," Rouhani said in a short statement on state television.

Al-Alam said the Fajr satellite, weighing 52kg would be able to take accurate pictures from space.

Defence Minister General Hossein Dehgan echoed Rouhani's comments, stating that the 21-metre and 26 tonne launcher, named Safir-Fajr, shows "the ability of Iran to build satellite launchers".

In February 2010, Iran launched a satellite containing a rat, turtles and insects.

Separate missions under Iran's space programme have seen two capsules launched. One, in January 2013, included a monkey that was recovered alive.

Iran's space activities, however, have sent alarm bells ringing in the international community amid concern over Tehran's development of technology that could have military purposes.

Source: AFP