Iran says it successfully put Noor-3 satellite into orbit
Thursday, 28 September 2023 (13:05 IST)
Iran claimed to have successfully put its Noor-3 satellite into orbit, the country's state-run news agency said on Wednesday.
The imaging satellite has been put in an orbit 450 kilometers (280 miles) above the Earth's surface, the IRNA said, quoting Communication Minister Isa Zarepour.
The announcement comes amid Iran's simmering tension with the West. There was no immediate acknowledgment from Western officials of either the launch or of the satellite being put into orbit. Authorities have not yet released images of the launch.
The US has previously claimed that Tehran's satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution and has urged Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
What we know about the launch
Zarepour said the aerospace arm of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which has had success in launching satellites in the past, was responsible for the most recent launch.
The Guard operates its own space program parallel to Iran's regular armed forces and answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It launched its first satellite into space in April 2020.
Tensions between Iran and the US
Tensions between Iran and the US reached a fever pitch after former US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of a nuclear accord in 2018, restoring crippling sanctions on Iran.
Iran began breaking the terms a year later, including by enriching uranium to higher levels, and formal talks in Vienna to try to restart the deal collapsed in August 2022.
Tehran has, however, slowed the pace of enriching uranium to nearly weapons-grade levels, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported earlier this month.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also said this month that relations with the US can move forward if US President Joe Biden's administration demonstrates it wants to return to the nuclear deal, and a first step should be easing sanctions.
Iran views nuclear power as one way to ensure its long-term energy independence and sees its nuclear program as a deterrent to its regional rivals.
Tensions also had to do with the US targeted killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in 2020 and strikes by Tehran on Iraqi bases housing US troops.