Tehran launched military satellite into orbit amid tensions with US
The Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard (IRG) announced on Wednesday 22 April the launch of a military satellite into orbit amid wider tensions with Washington, the first successful launch after months of failures.
Washington is likely to watch this development closely as Tehran’s space program is closely related to its missile and nuclear ones.
The move is most likely aimed at sending a clear message to Washington and is part of Iran’s effort to pressure both the US and the European states after the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA).
Iran has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent months.
There hasn’t been yet an independent confirmation of the launch of the satellite.
The satellite has been called ‘Noor’ – meaning ‘light’ – and the IRG used a Ghasad satellite carrier to launch it into space, a system that was previously unknown, AP reported.
Teheran said that the satellite successfully reached an orbit of 264 miles above the Earth’s surface taking off from Iran’s Central Desert, the Guard said, without further elaborating.
The launch comes amid tensions between Iran and the US over the nuclear deal and after a US drone strike killed Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January.
On Sunday, the IRG also acknowledged it had a tense encounter with US warships in the Persian Gulf last week.