Iran Claims It Has Launched Satellite Into Orbit

Iranian Safir-2 rocket i i

Technicians look at a Safir-2 rocket that carries a satellite Iran says it launched into orbit Tuesday, marking a significant step in a space program that has worried many observers. Fars News Agency/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Fars News Agency/AP
Iranian Safir-2 rocket

Technicians look at a Safir-2 rocket that carries a satellite Iran says it launched into orbit Tuesday, marking a significant step in a space program that has worried many observers.

Fars News Agency/AP

Iranian officials said Tuesday that they successfully launched the country's first domestically made satellite into orbit.

State-run media said the Omid, which means "Hope" in Farsi, satellite was launched late Monday and will be used for research and communications. Government-controlled television showed footage of what was said to be the rocket launch in the middle of the night on Monday.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hailed the launch as another of the country's achievements. The launch coincided with the 30th anniversary of the revolution that created an Islamic republic in Iran.

Iran has already placed a commercial satellite into orbit using a rocket launched from Russia.

But news of the launch caused some concern internationally. Putting a satellite into orbit employs some of the same technology that would be used by a long-range missile carrying a nuclear warhead.

"It is certainly a reason for us to be concerned about Iran and its continued attempts to develop a ballistic missile program of increasingly long range," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.

Iran has denied it is seeking nuclear weapons.

From NPR's Mike Schuster and wire reports.

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