The Islamic Republic of Iran claims it has successfully launched a military satellite into space, a move that could ratchet up tensions with Western nations amid concerns that Tehran’s space technology could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
Communication Minister Isa Zarepour said that the Noor-3 imaging satellite was put in an orbit 450 kilometers above the Earth, state media reported on September 27.
The satellite was launched by the three-stage Qased carrier, which launched its predecessor Noor 2 last year.
The commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which carried out the launch, called it a “victory” and said that the satellite will collect data and images.
It was not clear when and where the launch took place.
There was no immediate comment from Western officials.
The Islamic Republic has had a series of failed launches in recent years.
The IRGC, which operates its own space program and military infrastructure, launched its first satellite into space in 2020, but the head of the US Space Command later said it was nothing but “a tumbling webcam in space."
The United States has alleged that Iran’s satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution. The US military says the same long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also allow Tehran to launch longer-range weapons, possibly including nuclear warheads.
Tehran denies US assertions that such activity is a cover for ballistic missile development and claims that it does not pursue the development of nuclear weapons.