Iran launches rocket carrying three ‘devices’ into orbit, state TV says

There were no independent reports that the objects reached their destination

(FILES) This file photo taken on July 26, 2017 shows a handout picture released by Iran's Defence Ministry shows a Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite rocket at its launch site at an undisclosed location in Iran.
The United States and European allies sharpened their tone on Iran on July 28, 2017, demanding that it immediately halt ballistic missile tests, a day after it tested a rocket carrying a satellite.With relations with Iran already tense, the US Treasury imposed fresh sanctions, singling out six companies owned or controlled by Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which it said was central to the Islamic republic's missile program, freezing their US assets and barring US citizens from dealing with them.

Iran said on Thursday it launched a satellite carrier rocket with three devices into space, although it is unclear if any of the objects entered orbit.

The state TV report, as well as others by semi-official news agencies, did not say when the launch took place or what the payload contained.

However, the launch took place amid negotiations in Vienna over the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. Previous launches by Tehran drew rebukes from the US.

Defence spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said the carrier was a Simorgh (Phoenix) rocket. He said the three devices were sent to an altitude of 470 kilometres and into the Earth's thermosphere.

Mr Hosseini was quoted as saying the “performance of the space centre and the performance of the satellite carrier was done properly”.

Iran has suffered a series of setbacks in its space programme in recent launches.

Iranian state media recently publicised a list of planned satellite launches for its civilian space programme.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps runs a parallel military programme that put a satellite into orbit last year.

A launch by Iran during the Vienna talks fits the hard line taken by Tehran’s negotiators, who described six previous rounds of diplomacy as a “draft”, exasperating their western counterparts.

Germany’s new foreign minister said that “time is running out for us at this point”.

Updated: December 30th 2021, 10:31 AM