Iran launches 'space' rocket

Tehran said the rocket is designed to put in orbit its first research satellite.

    Ahmadinejad wants an 'influential presence' in space [File: GALLO/GETTY]

    "We need to have an active and influential presence in space," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, said in a televised ceremony before the launch.

    "Iran took its first step [to establish a presence in space] very strongly, precisely and wisely. Building and launching a satellite is a very important achievement."

    The ability to put satellites into orbit could indicate an advance in the country's missile technology.

    In November, Iran had built a new missile with a range of 2,000km, adding to the scope of its conventional arsenal.

    Western experts say Iran rarely gives enough details to determine how significant its technology advances are.

    They say much Iranian technology is based on modifications to equipment supplied by other countries, including China and North Korea.

    Space centre launched 

    Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad inaugurated Iran's first space centre, which includes an underground control station and  launch pad which was used to fire Omid into space.

    Iran has been pursuing a space programme in the last few years and in October 2005, an Iranian Russian-made satellite was put into orbit by a Russian rocket.
     
    But Omid would be Iran's first home-built probe and the first to be launched in Iran.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.