Iran claims it has finally launched first military satellite

Iran claims Noor satellite was launched in desert

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on January 28, 2020 shows President Hassan Rouhani speaking during the inauguration of infrastructure projects in the capital Tehran.  - === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / IRANIAN PRESIDENCY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ===
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Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Wednesday claimed it successfully launched its first military satellite into orbit.

The satellite, named Noor, or “Light,” was launched on Wednesday morning from the Markazi Desert, Iranian news agency ISNA reported.

The force said it used the Qased, or "Messenger", satellite carrier to launch Noor.

"The three-stage Qased satellite launcher uses a combination of solid and liquid fuels," it said.

The satellite is now in orbit at 425 kilometres above the Earth’s surface, the IRGC said.

The launch, which has not been verified, comes after a series of failed attempts.

In the most recent, on February 9, satellite Zafar 1 was launched from a Simorgh rocket but fail to make orbit.

Launches in January, February and August in 2019 were also unsuccessful.

The US has called Iran's satellite programme a cover for its ballistic missile development.

US officials have said they fear long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads.

Tehran denies the US claims and says it has never pursued the development of nuclear weapons.

Tension between the two countries has intensified after top military commander Qassem Suleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.

The administration of US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran after Washingtonin 2018 withdrew from a 2015 international accord to curb Iran’s nuclear programme.

Mr Trump said the nuclear deal did not go far enough and did not include restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile programme or support for its proxies in the Middle East region.

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