Iran said it had launched a domestically made satellite into orbit for the first time on Tuesday, a move likely to worry Israel and Western powers further about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The launch of the Omid (Hope) research and telecom satellite was hailed by Iran as a major step in its space technology timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the US-backed shah.
The long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit can also be used for launching warheads, although Iran says it has no plans to do so.
“Dear Iranian nation, your children have placed the first indigenous satellite into orbit,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a televised message, adding the launch was successful.
Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said Omid was orbiting earth. He said: “We have established communications with it and the necessary information has been received.”